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Many schools seek to make service part of King Day holiday

Larry Nagengast
Delaware Public Media
Students at Wilmington Friends School create decorations for the Alfred I. du Pont Children’s Hospital";

Several other schools in New Castle County conducted community service activities associated with the commemoration of the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Ursuline Academy set up a day of service program similar to the one at Tower Hill, with students, family members and staff volunteering at five different stations. They baked about 1,000 dog biscuits for Faithful Friends, bagged 500 lunches for the Ministry of Caring and the St. Patrick’s Center, made a dozen blankets for Fleece for Keeps and 50 tutus for children at a Wilmington daycare center, and wrote letters to servicemen stationed overseas. The event, in its second year, attracted 150 to 175 members of the Ursuline community, according to Maureen McAleenan, the upper school dean of students.

Students at Tatnall Middle School participated in a variety of community service activities on Jan. 18, according to Page McConnel, Tatnall’s director of marketing and communications. Sixth-graders participated in hands-on learning activities about recycling at the Delaware Solid Waste Authority near New Castle. Members of the seventh-grade class sorted clothes for Friendship House at the Clothing Bank of Delaware. Eighth-graders spent the day mentoring fourth-grade students at the East Side Charter School in Wilmington.

Students in preschool through fifth grade at Wilmington Friends School participated in a variety of service activities on Thursday, Jan. 17. After a peace march and worship service focused on Dr. King’s philosophy and achievements, they worked on projects that included making dog treats for an animal shelter and wildlife treats for the school’s outdoor classroom, creating decorations for the Alfred I. du Pont Children’s Hospital, assembling activity kits for the Mom’s House childcare center and organizing a collection of eyeglasses for the needy.

Credit Larry Nagengast / Delaware Public Media
Delaware Public Media
Wilmington Friends School students make dog biscuits for local animal shelters

"The focus in preparation for this work has been helping students develop a better understanding of their roles as peacemakers, community builders, and agents of change, both within our school and the larger community," said Julie Rodowsky, head of Friends’ Lower School.

Three delegations from Salesianum School – 10 students and two adults in each one – learned about humanitarian issues through visits to Albuquerque, New Mexico; Tuba City, Arizona, and El Paso, Texas, as part of the school’s BRIDGE Program, according to Zachary Ryan, director of campus ministry. (BRIDGE stands for Building Relationships In Diverse Global Environments.) The groups, which left Wilmington last Thursday and returned on Wednesday, met with area residents and members of parishes at Native American reservations, immigrant and refugee centers, and various other organizations. The delegation in El Paso conducted a prayer service through the fence at the U.S.-Mexico border on Monday.

At least two other community service events were canceled because of the frigid weather.

Springer Middle School, in the Brandywine School District, had planned a morning of activities that would have included a food, clothing and book drive, with donations directed to the Sunday Breakfast Mission, Catholic Charities, Claymont Community Center, Harlan Elementary School, Fleece for Keeps, and local Boys & Girls Clubs.  A blanket-making activity, to benefit Fleece for Keeps, was also scheduled.

Students from Sanford School in Hockessin had planned to volunteer at the site of the planned Teen Warehouse, helping youths involved in the project clean, sort and stack items left behind when the Prestige Academy charter school, formerly located in the building on Wilmington’s East Side, closed in December 2017. A new date for the activity has not been scheduled.

Larry Nagengast, a contributor to Delaware First Media since 2011, has been writing and editing news stories in Delaware for more than five decades.