Third-graders learn about civic duty

Messenger photo by Kristy Zurbrick

Maddy McKee made and sold beaded safety pins to raise money for the American Cancer Society. She is a third-grader at Miami View School in South Charleston. 

Blue is for colon cancer. White is for lung cancer. Turquoise is for ovarian cancer. Black is for melanoma. Pink is for breast cancer. Lavendar is for all cancers.

Miami View third-grader Maddy McKee used the color key to create customized beaded safety pins, which she sold for $1 each. The "pins of hope" raised $107 for the American Cancer Society.

The project was McKee’s contribution to the third-grade’s community service unit, an annual hands-on supplement to classroom learning that revolves around state standards for social studies.


Earlier this school year, third-grade teachers Bonnie Lockwood, Kathy Shoemaker and Krista Spitzer instructed each of their students to come up with a service project, complete it, and write a report about how it made the world a better place.

It was up to the students to find the connection to community that made sense to them. For McKee, the connection came via her mother, Kacey McKee.

"My mom is a nurse on the cancer floor at Community Hospital in Springfield. She told me how special (cancer patients) are and how terrible it would be to have cancer," McKee said.

The third-grader recruited her brother, Hayden, 6, to help assemble the beaded pins. She sold them at Hayden’s youth football games at Midway Elementary in Madison County.

In recognition of McKee’s fundraising, an American Cancer Society representative visited Miami View to present her with a plaque and a Relay For Life purse. Relay For Life is the Society’s signature fundraiser. Robin Dexter also was on hand to name McKee an honorary member of Team Dexter, a Relay team named for her son, Dennis, a Southeastern High School student who died last year due to cancer.

The community service projects Miami View’s students tackled were diverse. Some students, like Denver Ratliff, opted to pick up trash in their neighborhoods. Kayla Ison Bowshier raked leaves and swept the living room at her great-grandparents’ home. Michaela Cain worked at the Apple Butter Festival. Andrew Lyons donated some of his toys to Goodwill. Others weeded church flowerbeds, planted trees, and donated to the local food pantry, among other good deeds.

In many cases, parents worked alongside their children to complete the projects.

"It’s neat because a lot of families get involved. It makes good citizens not just of us but of our parents, too," said Spitzer.

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