This year Mountain View Elementary started it’s initiative that focused on community service.
Principal Karl Kircher led the charge into Central Kenai Peninsula neighborhoods followed by eager educators and their students.
“I think its always been there. Its there at most schools,” Kircher said. “We wanted to up our game at it.”
Kircher said the goal is to teach students the importance of giving back to their communities. Mountain View is a neighborhood school, and the largest in the school district, he said.
Starting with the Kenai Industry Appreciation Day Saturday, August 23, 2014, staff, students and their families helped run an art booth at the festival, Kircher said. He felt it was important to have a strong representative of the school district at the event.
“If it’s (the school district) not the biggest industry on Kenai Peninsula then it’s certainly the most important,” Kircher said.
Through out the year Mountain View’s varying demographics followed up with fundraisers, feeds and musical performances.
On Thanksgiving the student council, which consists of one elected student from every fourth and fifth grade classroom, served thanksgiving dinner at the senior center.
Fifth grade council member Mystery Garner said she would recommend other students join student council so they can take part in service activities.
“Its good to help in general,” It can help both. It you are helping someone it makes you feel good inside and you keep doing it more and more to other people.”
Music teacher Johnathan Dillon’s class sang to a group of local veterans on Veteran’s Day. His student Malerie Nunn said she gained skills and insight participating in the performance.
“I thought it was cool because we would be performing in front of other people. You can learn more about music,” Nunn said. “It’s a good idea to do community service. You can get exposed to other people, different people.”
Dillon said, after the students sang songs about the United States and the U.S. Armed Forces, they had a chance to sit and eat with their audience.
“So you can imagine what came up in conversation: ‘where, when and why did you serve’,” Dillon said.
The community service is only one piece of a bigger picture at Mountain View, Dillon said. In addition to encouraging volunteerism, it helps students learn howt to carry through with a plan and a complete a project, and in this case helped improve their music skills in and outside of the classroom, he said.
“We’re part of the community and the community is part of the school,” Dillon said. “It’s a give and take.”
Kircher said the initiative also teaches students one of the core values imparted on Mountain View students, which is the importance of using kindness in social interactions.
Kindergartner Angelina Bond walked with her sister Isabella Bond, their parents and a group of their peers at the 46th Annual Walk and Roll for Hope, Saturday, May 2, 2015.
Angelina Bond said she had a good time walking with her family and enjoyed helping people at the same time.
She also participated in the Pennies for Pets fundraiser that made more than $300 the school donated to the Kenai Animal Shelter.
Angelina and Isabella Bond’s family has and orange cat Hooch who is nine years old, Hectar a gray cat who is eight years old and a dog named Gwennie who is five years old, Angelina Bond said. Raising money for other animals made her feel good, she said.
“Just so you know we like helping people,” Angelina Bond said.
Kircher said the kindergartners who are first starting to learn the importance of being a “neighborhood school,” will really grasp the concept within a few years. It is an accumulation of experiences and learning, he said.