Athlete’s story inspires students

Fifth graders give gift of warmth to seniors


STANDISH — Some stories can really speak to people and inspire them to do great things. In the case of Standish-Sterling Middle School fifth graders in Diane Potts’ class, a reading assignment led them to get involved in the community by making lap blankets that will be delivered to elderly people living in MediLodge of Sterling and St. Mary’s of Standish Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) on Dec. 19.

“It all began with us reading a story out of our reading text book,” Potts said, adding the story was “We’ll Never Forget you, Roberto Clemente,” which describes baseball great Roberto Clemente’s selfless lifestyle and generosity. “Every fifth grade class has to read that story.”

After hearing about Clemente’s service to others, Potts says her students were inspired, especially around the holiday season, to help others as well.

“We brainstormed different ideas. … They (students) wanted to do something for the elderly,” Potts said. “We decided that would probably be the best connection because there’s people there (MediLodge, SNF) that are lonely.”

And the end product will be approximately 100 lap blankets. The students provided funding for the project’s materials themselves.

“The kids took back pop cans to buy the material,” Potts said. “They raised approximately $400.

“They’re excited about the delivery. … They plan on singing Christmas Carols at the same time.”

According to Potts, the project has also taught the students valuable lessons about generosity and helping out, which will be useful when the students transition to high school, where community service is necessary to graduate.

But the project hasn’t been isolated to just helping out the elderly. Potts says students have also helped out others when preparing the fleece blankets, which are made by tying knots along the frayed edged on two pieces of fleece.

“I’ve seen a lot of kids helping each other,” Potts said. She added that not only her students got into the spirit of giving, either. According to Potts, 11 grandparents and parents donated some time to come in and help cut the pieces of fabric for the project.

And still, the class continues to help out, as Potts says that due to donations from the retailer providing the fabric, $100 was left over from the pop can money, which she says will be donated to Arenac County Habitat for Humanity or another charitable organization.


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