Students & Staff Build New Connections

(November – December 2016) Many teachers and school employees pour their hearts into helping students in the classroom. Thanks to a fundraising effort, they are giving the “Gift of Time” to students before school, after school and during lunch time at Richland Elementary School. 

The concept of the “Gift of Time” is quite simple. Teachers and staff members are volunteering their time to work with students after school on different activities from cooking to painting. Some activities required more than one session. Families could purchase raffle tickets to win a session with the staff members. Raffle tickets were .25 cents each.  

While the concept is simple, the outcome is great. Teacher Beth Grower, who helped with the event along with other staff members, says the project benefits the Richland Parent Teacher Organization, who does so much for the students, school and staff. In addition, students get to see their principal, nurse, teacher and other staff members in a whole new light and build connections.

In all 23 different opportunities are available and more than 100 students won a chance to participate. Some of the sessions include a Tea Luncheon, Egg-cellent Engineers, Yoga & Breakfast, Pizza & Just Dance, PE Teacher for a Day, Kids R Cooking Sweet Treats, Canvas & Cookies and Pizza & Apps.

Principal Gene Niccastro is offering up a session called Pizza & Apps. The popular session provides students a chance for students to spend time with their principal while playing Minecraft, Temple Run and Pokémon on their mobile devices and enjoy pizza after school.

School Nurse Beth Cassandro is hosting a Canvas & Cookies session. Students are painting canvases and enjoying cookies while their projects dry. One student even took the opportunity to invite secretary Gina Hoffman to paint with her.

Art Teacher Eileen Gilson is taking her artistic flair to the kitchen. The young participants are learning how to make three-minute chocolate fudge and caramel corn.

Counselor Brittany Boss and Teacher Stephanie Yanott hosted a Lifesavers Puffmobile Challenge. Students built their own mini vehicles out of yummy treats. 

The raffle raised more than $2,200 for the PTO.