Students share their treasures
BY SARA PLUMMER World Staff Writer
Friday, December 14, 2012
12/14/12 at 5:33 AM
McClure Elementary School third-grader Keshaun Love was ready and waiting with his book "Goodnight Goon" Thursday when the students from Metro Christian Academy's middle school walked through the door.
The private Christian school, just blocks away, has partnered with the public elementary school for the past several years, providing sweatshirts, backpacks, food baskets, coats and, on Thursday, books.
It was the second time this school year that the sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders from Metro have walked to McClure to read to the younger students. This time, the youngsters got to keep their books and take them home.
Books also were given to McClure teachers to keep in their classrooms.
McClure Principal Susan Baston said the school has lots of help through the Partners in Education program, but the relationship with Metro is unique.
"You don't hear about a private Christian school and a public school partnering up," she said, but it's been a wonderful endeavor. "Our kids are looking up at these kids with awe."
McClure is a Title I school - 100 percent of the students qualify for the free or reduced-price lunch program. Baston said many of the students live in nearby apartments or rental properties, and their families move around a lot, meaning books aren't always a priority.
"They are trying to keep the electricity on, keep food on the table, so books are a luxury," she said. "A book is something to treasure. Some kids, it may be the only book they have."
Nearly 250 Metro middle-school students collected close to 700 books to donate.
Keshaun, his classmate Markeith Smith and Metro eighth-grader Ashlee Jenkins took turns reading their books Thursday afternoon.
"It feels good," Keshaun said, adding about the Metro students: "We like it when we see their faces. I hope they come back soon."
Ashlee said she feels the same way.
"It's a good experience. It's a fun thing to do," she said. "I like being here with all the kids and getting to talk with them. These are all really great kids."
Metro Christian Academy middle school Principal Bob Beard said his students get as much out of the partnership as those at McClure.
"It's good for the kids to come to place where they feel they can be of service," he said, and they don't have to go across the globe to help those in need. "This is what outreach looks like. You can help someone next door."
In November, Metro staff members asked each student to bring in two books for McClure, but the final number of almost 700 books exceeded expectations.
"All the books started coming out of the woodwork," Beard said. "These students get to see the end result and what they brought the books for."
The outpouring of support from the nearby school is touching, Baston said, especially when she sees the mass of students walking up the sidewalks to her school.
"It moves me to tears every time," she said. "It's instilling in young teens and teenagers the art of caring."
Sara Plummer 918-581-8465
Metro Christian Academy eighth-grader Leighton Hopkins (center) reads to McClure Elementary School third-graders Adayzha Poleszak (left) and Amarionna Young on Thursday. Metro's students donated books that the students could keep. CORY YOUNG/ Tulsa World
Metro Christian Academy eighth-graders Ellie Anderson (from left), Emily Thomas and Annie Burns laugh as they walk with other students to deliver and read the books. CORY YOUNG/ Tulsa World