Pelham Middle School 7th and 8th grade students engaged in a number of activities during May that were designed to connect them to the world in which they live and make a positive impact on their community.

Each year, students in the 7th grade read Linda Sue Park’s novel, “A Long Walk to Water,” and participate in a culmination event in which the students create posters and fundraise to build a well in South Sudan. As part of the experience, the students walked the perimeter of Franklin Field carrying gallon bottles of water for an entire class period. This experience helps the students develop empathy and raise awareness for the need for clean, safe, drinking water as well as develop a deeper understanding and appreciation for the book. Over the past three years, the 7th graders have raised over $15,000 towards the well!

Speaking of fundraising, Middle School teachers, staff, and Principal Lynn Sabia helped a group of 8th graders raise funds for their Community Project after school by selling pies for the kids to hit them in the face with. The fun-filled and exciting event raised money for Pencils of Promise, a global organization promoting access to quality education around the world.

Those Community Projects were on full display May 13 for the first ever Community Project Expo. This event, held in the MS Gym, gave parents and community members an opportunity to hear directly from 8th graders about the projects that they worked on all year. The Community Project is an important element of the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme and serves as an authentic learning experience and capstone project. Among the exciting projects that were on display were creating a bee garden, collecting teen clothing for “The Sharing Shelf,” creating murals in the 6th and 7th grade hallways to raise students’ self esteem, combating cyberbullying and promoting internet safety, spreading awareness about teen drug prevention and raising money for a drug rehabilitation center, building a “Little Free Library” book exchange for a local school, collecting soccer equipment to send to third world countries, conducting surveys and research on improving pedestrian safety in Pelham, helping to raise funds to support victims and cases of domestic violence, raising money for animal shelters, and volunteering at the CSA Soup Kitchen in Mt. Vernon and raising money and awareness about homelessness, among others.

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