Lessons from the heart at Milford Central Academy

MILFORD — Blankets, cards, mittens and scarves are putting smiles on the faces of many Milford Central Academy students this year as they prepare to give Christmas away before their winter break begins.

The Student Council and several classes have worked hard over the past several weeks to organize community service projects and create items to give away for the holidays.

After school, the student council gathered to draw cards of all sizes to be delivered to the Home of the Brave, Delaware Veterans Home, Code Purple and Genesis HealthCare in Milford. But they didn’t stop at just cards.

The students also organized glove and mitten trees to benefit local homeless community members. They also arranged gift and wrapping supplies collections for those in domestic violence shelters so children could gift presents to their parent and be able to wrap them personally.

Seventh grade science teacher Judith Woods, sixth grade English and language Arts teacher Jessica Rash, sixth grade special education teacher Emily Coverdale, along with others, have helped lead the student council and gave students a choice: have a secret Santa event where they would receive gifts from other students or donate gifts and other items to the community.

“They chose to give. It’s really so sweet,” Ms. Woods said.

Student Council President Danae Martinez said she couldn’t be prouder of the student body she calls home.

“I am very proud of my student council and always have been,” the eighth grader said.

“I feel like what we’re doing is an amazing thing, giving back to the community. I feel like what we’re doing is the right thing. We’re helping people in need.”

Other students had similar feelings Thursday, Dec. 14 during their Student Council meeting when art supplies and collected items were strewn across Ms. Woods’ classroom.

“I think it’s a really cool thing. I’m dedicated to being here because it’s a good cause,” sixth grader Lila Holland said.

Danae added, “I have a lot of things to be grateful for. I feel so happy with where I am. The Milford School District is like my second home for me. They could have chosen to get gifts. But they choose to donate instead.”

Members of the Student Council aren’t the only ones living a spirit of giving from inside Milford Central Academy’s walls.

Every day at 2:30 p.m. during the last class of the day, students attend a period called RTI, or Response to Intervention. Some students need the time for additional tutoring or school work. Others, however, take the time to learn a new skill such as learning how to crotchet or play chess, according to seventh grade English and language arts teacher Sherise Geesaman.

Her RTI class, duly named the Blanket Brigade, chose to make no-sew blankets. They have made a counter full of warm, fleece blankets ready to donate alongside the Student Council’s gifts to anyone in need.

“It’s a sense of belonging and community. I think it really makes them feel good that they’ve done something for someone else,” she said.

Students in her class have even made a mini-business out of their new skill.

“A few teachers have bought the fleece and the kids would then make blankets to give to them for Christmas gifts or whatever they wanted,” Ms. Geesaman said.

Other blankets not purchased or given to the Student Council will be given to families who have expressed needs with the teachers.

“It’s us as teachers who take responsibility for the community,” she said. “We are always there to step up and help as much as we can.”

Other RTI classes are making items, as well, such as Holly McKellop’s class who crochets gloves or mittens to be given to those in need.

“There’s a lot of good happening here in the Milford School District,” Ms. Woods said. “These are good kids. It really makes you feel good about being here as a teacher.”

Jennifer Antonik can be reached at mc@newszap.com

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