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Lowes Island second graders give back to veterans at Boulder Crest

For the second year in a row, Lowes Island Elementary School second graders will perform in a Veterans Day concert, but this year the students are taking part in an additional project to give back.

School faculty are looking to challenge students with project-based learning, so Music Specialist Mindy Padworski and second-grade teachers presented students with the challenge of how to give back to local veterans.

“We, as educators, hope that through this project we can teach our students the value of charity and the importance of celebrating and giving back to our veterans through hands-on learning and performing,” Padworski said.

The second-grade class has organized a donation drive of household items to create welcome baskets for the guests of Boulder Crest Retreat. The Bluemont-based retreat serves as a place for combat veterans, active duty soldiers and there families can enjoy recreational activities aimed at offering a sense of well-being and peace of mind, Padworski said.

“The kids have a voice and choice in what they do,” Lowes Island Principal Bruce Shafferman said. “It really makes learning come alive for the children.”

The drive ends Sept. 29, and later in October the students will assemble the baskets to present to the guests and staff at Boulder Crest. Padworski said the students have used math and language arts skills as they figure out how many of each item is needed for the baskets and as they learn new vocabulary words through concert songs.

“So they're doing all of this and promoting citizenship with their students,” Padworski said.

School staff will deliver the baskets to Boulder Crest on Nov. 7.

Last year's second grade class wrote letters to veterans in addition to performing in the November concert, Shafferman said. The students invited veteran relatives to the concert and asked them all to stand at the end to be recognized. Shafferman and Padworski said they remember it being incredibly impactful.

This year's concert is at 9 a.m. Nov. 10 and will showcase a large number of patriotic songs and a tribute to all veterans in attendance at the concert. Following the concert, veterans are invited to stay for coffee, cake and fellowship.


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