From donating to community nonprofits to participating in the Kindness Olympics, Buice Elementary School’s gifted and talented students have been involved all year in activities to pay it forward.
During a Friday morning assembly, students presented representatives from CASA, the West Texas Food Bank, Odessa Police Department, Odessa Fire Rescue, Ector County Sheriff’s Office and Brookdale Senior Living Center with a variety of gifts.
In the words of 10-year-old fourth-grader Kayden Morris, to pay if forward means that when you do something for someone else, that person can pass it on to someone else.
“Then it’s a chain reaction because it keeps on going and people have kind hearts enough and care enough to pass on things that could make people feel better,” Morris said.
Principal Alicia Press said the 90 students in grades first through fifth at Buice made more than 50 craft kits for Court Appointed Special Advocates; one student put up a lemonade stand, made $60 and donated it to CASA; some students made fleece tied lap blankets for seniors at Brookdale Senior Living Center; and created more than 200 11 by 14 placemats for Meals on Wheels clients.
Gifted and Talented teacher Johnna Rosson said she would bring the blankets to Brookdale.
One student put messages in travel-size bottles, drew faces on masking tape and created hair made of golden-colored paper.
Several youngsters collected canned food for the West Texas Food Bank and made goody baskets for firefighters and police, Press said in an email.
More than 50 gently used books were taken to various doctors’ offices in the area; student guides were made about Odessa and Buice to help students who are new to the school, and Thursday, during Family Math and Book Fair Night, there were 100 student-created Buice Bags.
“We will be asking for donations to help CASA and when someone donates, they receive a Buice Bag. The student created contents of the bag are: (a) Buice Bookmark, Buggle magnets, tic-tac-toe bag games, emoji stickers, stencils and/or Madri Gras beads,” Press said.
There was also a candy guessing/estimation jar. Suggested donations were $5, but anything was appreciated. If all the bags were distributed at the suggested $5 donation, the school could raise $500 for CASA in one night, she added.
Rosson said the effort started with three children’s books, “We’re All Wonders,” by R.J. Palacio, “Happy Dreamer,” by Peter H. Reynolds, and “Only One You,” by Linda Kranz.
“These are about kindness and doing good for others, thinking about others before yourself, not having selfish thoughts but realizing others have issues and what you can do to help,” Rosson said.
She added that this is something the students are passionate about and they have come up with ideas of their own for projects.
“We already have ideas for next year about some things, so this is a project that I’m hoping will grow bigger and bigger,” Rosson said.
Fourth-graders Joslynn Thompson, 10, Blake Richards and Morris made goody buckets for the police.
Thompson said she created the buckets because the police do a lot for people in the community.
“It makes me feel like I’m like a new person, pretty much. I usually don’t do this kind of stuff and that’s why it makes me a new person because I’ll have done it,” she said.
Richards said the police never get recognized and he wanted them to know that people care about them.
Analise Antillon, 10, also in fourth grade, made care packages for CASA with school supplies.
“I felt like it was something really nice to do,” Antillon said. “It makes me feel really good because you never know if something’s happening in their life and you’re doing something nice can change it.”
Ten-year-old Amry Paz’s father is a sheriff’s deputy. Paz said she worked on the sheriff’s goody buckets.
She said it’s important to help the deputies because when there’s something bad going on in the world, law enforcement helps residents.
“It’s a good thing to help out the policemen because they don’t get appreciated a lot,” Paz added.
Buice fourth-grade gifted and talented students Annalise Antillon, Amry Paz, Kayden Morris, Blake Richards and Joslynn Thompson pose in front of some if the items they planned to distribute to first responders and nonprofits during an April 27 school assembly.
Ruth Campbell/Odessa American