I was thrilled that nine students at Ocean View Elementary School on Thursday, November 16th, finally received their National Presidential Volunteer Service Award Pins from Washington, D.C. These second grade students received quite a surprise when they saw me, their first grade teacher from last year standing in the media center.
These students along with several others received a National Presidential Volunteer Award Certificate at the end of first grade at Willoughby Elementary School, but without their pins. Due to staffing issues in Washington, D.C., the pins were delayed in being shipped.
Willoughby Elementary School no longer exists as an elementary school. Currently, it is a Pre-K center. Therefore, the rising kindergarten, first and second grade students from Willoughby Elementary School are now students at the new Ocean View Elementary School.
Fortunately, I was able to make arrangements with Dr. Peterson, the principal at Ocean View Elementary School, to have a small ceremony in order to formally present these award pins to the students.
Beth Mills, Military Student Transition Consultant for Norfolk Public Schools, along with Angela Denson, reading specialist for Ocean View Elementary School, also attended this small ceremony.
Students were able to earn this award by modeling good citizenship through working together in centers, cooperative groups, partner-pair-share, and by reading with a buddy. Students can easily gain more knowledge and improve study habits by working as a team or with a partner. As a recipient of a National Daily Point of Light Award and a National Presidential Call to Service Award, I have a special key code which allows me to keep track of the number of student hours determining the level of an award pin, as well as to order these materials. Students can earn a bronze, silver, or a gold pin. These nine students received gold status.
I began presenting pins to students when I was a literacy specialist working for Norfolk Public Schools. As a literacy specialist, I was given the opportunity to create the After-Breakfast Buddy Reading Club which met for twenty minutes in a hallway at Willoughby Elementary School. I would arrive early to load up a cart containing reading materials along with beach towels to place on the floor. Older students were trained as student leaders working in small groups. I created a handbook for the students to use containing the reading agenda along with plays and rimes to help improve oral fluency. The club met four days a week leaving Friday as a day I could use to complete paperwork and update reading materials in the cart. During that time, this special program had received funding from Dollar General, Target, The Town Foundation, and DonorsChoose.org. When my job was eliminated due to budget cuts, I returned to the classroom as a first grade teacher. Since I was determined to motivate my students to read, much like I had done as literacy specialist, I decided to find ways in which students could work together and earn a National Presidential Volunteer Service Award. As such, I funded this project from money I received from book royalties. I am the author of the Alien Bleeper Series published by http://www.arobookpublishing.com. These books are illustrated by the acclaimed, Bob Reese.
Unfortunately, I am no longer a classroom teacher or a literacy specialist, because I’m retired. However, if the right opportunity came along for me to organize an in-school service club to promote good citizenship and to motivate academic learning, I would probably jump right in. But, I would need a sponsor such as a nonprofit agency or other affiliation to help cover the cost of certificates, pins, and other miscellaneous items and expenses.