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Students learn important lesson about giving

READ MORE: Students learn important lesson about giving

With one week to go until the big day, most children are focused on what may be under the tree at Christmas. But some youngsters in Pender County have been focusing on something else: learning the importance of giving and helping others less fortunate.

The best lessons in school are not always about reading, writing and 'rithmetic. For fourth graders at Cape Fear Elementary in Rocky Point, reading a book about homelessness has led to many more important lessons about the meaning of Christmas.

"It was really awesome," fourth grader Kimberly Andreassen said, "because I've never done anything like this before, and it's cool to help the community."

Last week one class baked 48 loaves of pumpkin bread for the hungry. Others put together 76 goodie bags with toiletries and other personal items the students donated. Two classes made 50 fleece blankets with grant money teacher Keenan Tusing received.

"We used sharp, sharp scissors," student Anthony Lopez said. "And then you cut like four inches, and then you tie it."

The children donated what they made to Pender County Christian Services. It was a chance for the youngsters to play Santa instead of just waiting for the jolly old elf to deliver.

"I am overwhelmed by these children," PCCS Vice President Sandy Harris said. "It's amazing how these fourth graders and their teachers have worked so hard to make this happen."

The students say the experience is a lesson that will last a lifetime.

"I think it's really important so that when we grow up we can know that it's good to do this," Reilly Smith, another fourth grader, said.

And their teacher says it's an especially powerful experience in this school where 66 percent of children get free or reduced-price lunch.

"I think some of the kids may have realized that. That this could be them one day that might need something like this." Tusing said. "And that makes this hit home a little bit more; that they don't have some of the stuff that we donated, and this might end up coming back to them in the end."

Harris says the food and personal items the kids put together went to Safe Haven in Pender County. She says the blankets will go to Safe Haven, the Pender County Sheriff's Office, Pender Memorial Hospital's emergency room and county nursing homes.

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4th graders making blankets for the homeless

I am proud to say that my child was one of the many that was lucky enough to participate in making blankets for the homeless. Not only did the project teach the students about the needy; it also taught them how to work together to accomplish a never ending task of helping others. I would like to give a loud applause to all of the teachers, faculty and the children that were involved in the blanket project & to those of you that are so negative... all I can say is "you have nothing else better to do than place negativity on such a wonderful gesture"! Kudos Cape Fear Elementary!

great job

I am a mother to one of the fourth grade students who was part of this wonderful learning experience. Yes, it was part of the novel The Family Under The Bridge. Yes, it had wonderful vocabulary and enriching, thought-provoking plots. All subject matters were intertwined to incorporate this story and the great (social studies curriculum) themes of community. And the best part, which some choose to forget about our educational system, is that when my child came home from school we DID discuss what lessons were being taught. We DID challenge ourselves as a family to do something through church to help those in need. And this came about because we extended on his learning from school. Way to go CFE, and thanks JB for being a wonderful teacher!

Way to go!

As a 30 year veteran teacher, I had to write in response to the 2 comments made earlier. Ignorance needs to be addressed. I'm guessing this article represents the conclusion to several weeks of study on a wonderful novel, Family Under the Bridge. We read the same book in Texas. The book teaches challenging vocabulary, information about another country, facts about another culture, and glimpses into life situations. It is a story about hope. The children will probably remember this novel for many years. The blankets represent a hands-on experience these students will always remember, and it was a wonderful opportunity to help their community. Everyone should recognize that it only happened after a teacher spent hours writing a proposal for grant money and did it months in advance of this novel study. She cared very much about the curriculum. She cared about her students' achievement. She didn't give them only worksheets to study about this novel. Way to go!

The Family Under the Bridge

I never read it, but I travel around the country quite a bit and have to visit twenty-thirty cities every year. If you want children to learn the true nature of homelessness in America, you'd better look for a book entitled The Wino Under the Bridge.

I'd say that it's pretty arrogant.... dismiss those who disagree with your political views as being ignorant. There is no shortage of novels that offer "challenging vocabulary, information about another country, facts about another culture, and glimpses into life situations." Several Hemmingway and Dickens novels pop into mind immediately. But perhaps these children were too young, or those novels didn't preach the exact, desired message. Every year this nation has to "import" more and more engineers and scientists on the H1B program because our educational institutes are not keeping up with the demand by stressing math and science. If you read many of the postings on this board, it becomes immediately obvious that English composition and basic garmmar skills are lacking as well. Our children are little lard-butts who will die in their fifties and sixties because there's no time for phys-ed....but there's time to learn about helping people who can't manage their lives? I see it every day in the business world: People who graduate with awards from a major university, but cannot write a simple sales proposal or engineering brief. A co-worker who graduated from UNC could not compute simple interest. An old girlfriend went to USC on a full scholarship, but had no idea that the United States fought in World War I, or the significance of that war in our modern dealings with Eastern Europe and the Balkans. (She had also never heard of "the Balkans!") Take a look at the average SAT scores of thirty years ago, and compare them with today's scores. The decline coincides exactly with our school systems embarking upon a curriculum that values Sesame Street/Barney/Global Brotherhood of Man political correctness, more than math, reading, and especially more than history. "Values" are supposed to be taught in the formative years by parents and churchs. Schools have no business neglecting important life skills that will benefit the individual student and society as a whole in the years to come. After all, without the skills they'll need to succeed financially, they're not going to have anything to give away, are they?

Man, are you ever wasting your time!

Think about it - if these people have children in the fourth grade, the parents themselves are a product of the exact brainwashing you are warning them about. It's been going on for a long time, and these parents grew up in that same environment. They don't know any better. You might just as well be preaching Adam Smith and Milton Friedman to North Koreans.

Kids helping homeless

Some of the stuff the kids did went to the police dept., nursing homes, and the emergency rooms. I think thats pretty kool. It's things like the kindness they are showing that is going to help some this year get through the holidays. For example: The Bell family, Samantha and Danny are homeless right now, not because they're drug attics or drunks, but because of a terrible ACCIDENT and some of you are mad because our children are helping people during this season instead of doing math and reading. As Mr. Ronald Weasley says "You need to sort out your priorities" I pray all goes well in your life and you never need help. I really mean that!!


When Hurricane Fran all but destroyed by house, my insurance company offered to put me up in a hotel or an apartment until the structure was repaired. Plus, the community has contributed a large sum of money to assist them in their time of need. I doubt that they'll be living on the street anytime soon.

response to "they should stick with..."

Wow. Seriously, wow. Merry Christmas to you too, buddy.

Kids helping homeless

You people have lost your minds. It's CHRISTmas time and you are upset because Pender schools were teaching about and helping homeless people. If you have forgotten let me remind you, CHRISTmas is about the birth of CHRIST and what He did for us, therefor Love, Compassion, Helping, Understanding, Forgiveness. You say teach them in church and at home not at school, but YOU want them to get a CHRISTmas break so you can go see family, spend time with your loved ones, but yet are so selfish to others. SOOOOO SAD! I give those schools that take time to teach our kids about Love and Kindness props. Someone needs to, sounds like some don't get the most important lessions at home. One Question for you: Is your kid the school bully? Just curious!

Pender County Schools are teaching about Christ?

I hardly think that's the case. I'll bet you that Christ was never once mentioned in this entire exercise. After all, we can't have religion in the classroom, can we? No, this was subtle, secular brainwashing to convince young minds that they are somehow obligated to consider their property and wealth as community property for the entire global village. It's a very important tool of the Left as they continue to push this country toward the mediocrity of Socialism. How else will children come to believe that the government's primary job is to redistribute wealth, penalizing the successful while rewarding the incompetent and lazy?

Common Sense?

Two things amaze me about you Commie Cents, (oopps Freudian Slip) Common Sense. First you would blame the global village jazz solely on the left. If you would not be so blinded by your political preferences, you might find that both parties are involved (up to their ears) with Globalism. Our two Republician Senators yesterday approved a measure basically stripping the US/Mexico fence bill. Second, that you would tout the Bible. Good for you. But, your posts as well as your handle indicate a tad bit of self righteousness and a severe lack of altruism, something Jesus Christ stands for. Come to church with us Sunday, I'll pick you up. We need you.


Commonsense is one word.

Do not confuse Left-wing Socialism...

...with Right-wing corruption. They're two distinct problems. Republican leadership is doing nothing about illegal immigration because they know that this country is addicted to cheap Central American labor. Even the most ardent opponents of illegal immigration just bubble over with excitement when that new house on the beach costs them $800k instead of $900k because all the roofing and drywall work were done by illegals. The Republicans, always mindful of the dollar, know that without illegal immigration, several sectors of our economy would be in the toilet. So instead of figuring out a fix, they do the old wink-wink, nudge-nudge and pay great lip service to stopping illegal immigration while doing nothing about it. Trust me, of the two problems, the Left-wing push toward Marxist influenced Socialism is far worse.....and our public school curriculum is a key building block in that march. If the fourth-graders at Capre Fear are now convinced that, "I have an obligation to help people who cannot manage their own lives," then it's a very small step to, "WE, as a people, must help those who cannot manage their own lives." Thus thee roads to TANF and Medicaid are paved with good, but foolishly naive intentions. Some tangential points in closing: * Nowhere did I "tout the Bible." I simply pointed out to a rather naive poster that this exercise had absolutely nothing to do with Christ. * A border fence, by itself, will do little to control illegal immigration. We need a comprehensive program with a totally secure border being but one of the menu items. * If my writings lead you to conclude that I am a Communist, then either I'm the worst writer on Earth or you have absolutely no idea what a Communist is. * Regarding my lack of altruism, I will gladly compare line 18 of my Schedule A to anyone's, for an analysis of income v. charitable contributions. I simply believe that we cannot confuse charity with socially mandated obligation. I give money because I want to and because I can, not because I foolishly believe that those who have more are somehow bound to do more. Every one of us needs to carry our own load through life. No one should be made to feel guilty for refusing to help those too lazy or incompetent to manage their lives effectively.

Wow! They made time for this?!?

I cannot believe that they made time for this in school when they could have been showing that slanted piece of sensational movie junk made by Al Gore & crew. Yes parents, it IS part of the brainwashing that your kids get in New Hanover County schools. Approved by the board members to be a part of every students education. I wish they would stick to what matters. Instead the teaching staff hate to be rated on the performance of the students and work against it every chance they get. This is one way. If the truth were known then a whole lot of teachers would have something to be ashamed about.

I cannot believe that some

I cannot believe that some of you people can spin this heartwarming story into something negative. Is this not the season of giving? Is Christmas not about helping those who are less fortunate than us? If this kind of "brain washing" inhibits these youngsters from growing up with a mind frame like yours I'm all for it. I bet you go to church every Sunday as well, hypocrite.

They should stick with the three R's

This exercise to help the homeless would be better taught at home or by a church. It truly is about charity when taught in those environments. It's forced Socialist brainwashing when it becomes part of the curriculum in our public schools. Perhaps if they concentrated on educating, rather than "conditioning," these children would do financially better when they grow to adulthood....and then their children won't need those subsidized or free lunches.... Oh, while they were explaining how "this could be them one day," did they bother to tell the kids that 70% of the homeless have mental and/or substance abuse problems? Knowing the truth about the causes of homelessness might help some of those at risk avoid that fate.

Are you kidding me?

As a matter of fact they did discuss the problems that lead to homelessness. But the lesson was more than just statistics...My daughter learned a tremendous amount about citizenship and being a giver to her community and to our society. And by the way, it was PENDER county schools...check the report cards and do your homework before slamming our school system and teachers up here...they are the ones working harder and making better progress!

"...being a giver to her community and to our society."

Sorry, that's your job. The school hould have been teaching her about math, English composition, American and world history, science, phys ed..... If they do that, she'll have a lot more to GIVE in the future.

I have a senior in high

I have a senior in high school that is a product of public education from Pender County, taking a full honors/advanced placement curriculum. My nine year old just completed this project. Have you looked at the academic achievements of Pender County kids, or can you not get past the economic demographics? Obviously there is a little more going on than just "charity" work. It's all part of being a well-rounded and diverse person. You are WAY off track here...why don't you reverse some of this negative energy and try volunteering for a couple of hours working with kids this age and hopefully open your mind a little...

response to "they should stick with..."

Wow. Seriously, wow. Merry Christmas to you too, buddy.