About ten days ago, a fifth grade class was discussing Valentine's Day traditions.
The conversation centered on the ways families might avoid the trite consumerism that surrounds the holiday.
When students heard about the Spare a Rose effort, they were galvanized.
They spent the next week emptying their change jars and piggy banks, and advocating among their families to pull in more participants.
A community member even got their workplace to match the student's total.
Their teacher managed the energy carefully, keeping parents up-to-date on the effort and keeping the actual amount raised by each student confidential.
The structure of the Spare a Rose campaign made that easy, by talking about success in terms of children served, not dollar totals.
The result? The class raised enough to cover one year's medication and training for twenty-three children who suffer from diabetes (far surpassing their goal of six).
Gordon students practice service to others in a variety of ways throughout the year, from the cookies Young Kindergarten baked for local firemen to the four weeks that eight graders spend working at local non-profits.
Most arise organically from classroom conversation, and some become annual traditions. Three upcoming service projects in Early Childhood and Lower School include:
Schoolwide Pennies for Penguins drive, led by third grade
first week of March
The nineteenth annual (!!) Kindergarten popcorn sale
starting late March
Recyclable products drive to benefit the Message in a Bottle project