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Students learn lesson in philanthropy

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Local students take on projects to help others

By Kacie Goode

Area kids are learning how to make an impact in the world by helping others in need, and their efforts are taking place at school.

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Friday morning, third-graders at Cox’s Creek Elementary helped load dozens of boxes into the back of a truck that will make its way to Texas over fall break. The boxes, which included clothing, water, school supplies and more, will be hand-delivered to five different elementary schools in Texas whose students have been affected by the devastation of Hurricane Harvey.

The donation drive was part of the school’s new project-based learning initiative.

“It’s a way that we can bring problems that we have in the world, and make them more real life,” said third-grade teacher Nikki Booher. “Students are able to do more hands on and be more engaged in their learning.”

Incorporating a community service project in that learning was inspired after the students read a book called Flat Stanley.

“They really took this and they ran with it,” Booher said, adding the students were passionate about their work with the project and learning how they could be “heroes.”

The project is one of several Cox’s Creek students were working on the week prior, but the Harvey efforts comprised many more in the community as well.

“We tag-teamed with Cox’s Creek Elementary School to do the Heroes for Hurricane Harvey project,” said Jeremey Booher, principal of the Nelson County Area Technology Center, which serves high school students in both Nelson County and Bardstown Independent school districts. “The first thing I wanted to do was get as many school supplies as possible.” The ATC alone had over 500 pounds of items donated, and there were about 2,000 pounds in total.

Nelson County High School and Bardstown High School donated a lot to the cause, along with other schools Booher said, as well as FET Engineering, NPR, the Dream Express in Bullitt County and Radcliffe Christian Youth Church. Nelson County Schools donated the truck to haul the items.

For the kids who helped make the drive happen, it’s a rewarding experience.

“We have been working really hard on our supplies to give to those five schools,” said Cox’s Creek student Jonathan Talbert.

“We want their schools to be just like they were before the hurricane, and I feel happy because I’m helping people in Houston, Texas,” added classmate Austin Jordan.

The Boohers were heading out Friday night to drive down to Texas and make their rounds delivering the items.

“We are excited to be able to get down there … and give them some of the things they may have lost out on during the hurricane,” Jeremey Booher said, adding that the collaborative project has been beneficial for many. “Even though somebody is almost a thousand miles away from here in Bardstown, we can be connected and stay connected, not just through our cell phones and not through technology, but we can actually make a difference in their lives.”

Carnival helps send water to South Sudan

While the Harvey project was the work of several public school students, down the road at Bluegrass Christian Academy on Friday, additional efforts were being made by kids to help those in need.

BCA, a local private school, hosted a small in-school carnival Friday afternoon to raise money to provide clean water to families in South Sudan. A book the students had read in class, “A Long Walk to Water,” inspired the project.

“It was about this guy, his name was Salva,” said Reagan Runner, a sixth-grader. “He had to trek through the desert to find his mom and dad and ended up in a refugee camp.”

The book, written by Linda Sue Park, is based on the true story of Salva Dut, a Sudanese Lost Boy. Dut founded an organization called Water for South Sudan, which builds wells to provide clean water and improves communities in the North African country.

“The sixth-graders decided they were going to do a fundraiser to try to earn some money to donate to that program, and they came up with the idea to do a carnival for the whole school,” said Adrian Vinson, a middle school language arts and history teacher at BCA.