July 15. 2022 -- Monticello’s 8th graders capped off their middle school International Baccalaureate experience by engaging in multi-week community projects. Working alone or with a small group, students identified a problem in their community and then performed volunteer service in order to meet the need, conducting research along the way.
Instead of looking at broad and sometimes vague societal problems like “racism” or “drug abuse,” they instead focused on smaller but manageable issues in their immediate neighborhoods, like litter and a lack of school volunteers.
Students in Kristie Marbury’s advisory period walked to Oxford Elementary School every Friday for three weeks where they volunteered in classrooms, helping kindergarteners and 1st graders with their reading and writing.
The experience was eye-opening for the middle schoolers, who proclaimed a newfound respect for their teachers. Genesis said, “The kids were really smart and knew how to express themselves. But it was harder to work with all of them at once. If I was a kindergarten teacher, I’d be stressed!”
Her classmate Triniti agreed. “It gave me a different perspective on what my teachers do.”
The students in Brock Hoover’s advisory period also had their perspectives shifted, but this time about the prevalence of litter. “Before we weren’t focused on it but now we see it everywhere,” said one of his students who partnered with the Noble Neighborhood Litter Busters.
The trio of Marcus, Ahmed and Amaury spent hours picking up litter at Denison Park “because no one should have to play on a playground that’s covered in trash.” They suggested installing extra trash and recycling cans as a more permanent solution to the problem of littering, with motivational signage like “It starts with you.”
And that right there is one of the core tenants of an IB education: Action and positive change start with you.