The Aylesworth Student Council members do several community service projects yearly, as their mission is to give back to the community.
The Student Council members are led by Jessica Niebel, a fifth-grade teacher at Aylesworth, and Angie Wyatt, the Home School adviser. Niebel and Wyatt lead by example and are wonderful role models for the Aylesworth Student Council members.
The Student Council members are comprised of fourth- and fifth-grade students. Interested students complete an application and submit it to their classroom teachers. The Student Council Advisers review each applicant, focusing on their academic achievement, leadership qualities, and daily behavior, as well as staff recommendations.
In November, Student Council members help Aylesworth families in need by providing four large boxes of non-perishable food items and a Town & Country gift card through the schoolwide food drive. A portion of the food was donated to the Portage Food Pantry to help other Portage families in need during the holidays. The Food Pantry workers were quite overwhelmed by the amount of food donated.
Christmastime brought the students to Fountainview Nursing Home for caroling and playing games with the residents. The Student Council members understand that their smiling faces and willingness to offer a hug or a funny joke make the holiday season brighter for many of the people visited.
The month of February is spent helping those that need it the most: other students who are fighting childhood cancer. The Penny War Challenge is a two-week long event that raises money for children and their families who are suffering from early childhood leukemia and lymphoma.
The Indianapolis-based organization, The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, is quite impressed with the contributions made by students and families during this event. Students are given a box to fill with loose change or dollar bills. A collection site is staffed each morning by Student Council members who collect and record donations. Announcements are read daily by members to update the students of the totals. The grade levels work together as a team to raise the most money, and a pizza party is provided for the winning grade level.
In May, students close out the school year by constructing, editing, and publishing letters of gratitude to their former teachers who have made an impact on their lives. These letters are written in conjunction with Teacher Appreciation Week, and are often accompanied by a sweet treat for the teacher to enjoy.
The Aylesworth Student Council members are second to none. Their willingness to work hard, be compassionate, foster leadership and responsibility among their peers, and to “do what is right” are examples that children and adults of all ages should follow. Aylesworth and the city of Portage are fortunate to have these students as our future.
This column solely represents the writer's opinion.