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EMS eighth-graders ‘get out of their bubble’

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By Deb Hurley Brobst

The eighth-graders at Evergreen Middle School went down the hill recently to lend their support to area nonprofits to help others in need.

Their work ranged from helping at dog shelters and food banks to helping out at Children’s Hospital and working at parks as part of the annual community service project.

“When you can engage kids and make it personal, learning happens,” said social studies teacher Jayme Blinco. “We wanted to take kids out of Evergreen, to take them out of their bubble. They are seeing reality, and it hits them.”

The students learn there are many others in need of help, both in Denver and in the world, and even people as young as eighth-graders can make a difference.

The students formed small groups, determined where they wanted to go, contacted the nonprofit and set up their community service time. It takes a lot of coordination and parent help, since each group needs a parent for supervision and to transport the kids to their destinations.

After their community service expeditions, the students returned to school to make computer presentations about what they did and what they learned.

One group cleaned windows and picked up trash around the YMCA of Metro Denver. They said they chose to volunteer for that organization because research showed them the solid values that YMCA teaches kids — plus it promotes health and fitness.

A group that went to Children’s Hospital made crafts with kids whose brothers or sisters were ill.

“There are a lot of sick kids,” eighth-grader Elise Benton said. “It was really sad.”

Elks’ Americanism Essay Contest winners

An essay written by Sierra Bolden, a seventh-grader at Evergreen Middle School, won the state competition of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks.

Each year the Elks host the Americanism Essay Contest for fifth- through eighth-grade students. This year’s essay theme, “Why I am Proud to be an American,” resulted in entries from 144 students to the Evergreen Elks Lodge.

Sierra received a $100 scholarship, and her essay was sent for judging at the national level.

Sierra’s essay said in part: “I am proud to be an American because I am free to have my own opinions and free to be what I want to be. I’m afforded this luxury because of our forefathers, who had a vision of people from diverse backgrounds living together in harmony and respecting each other. I am thankful for our soldiers who are brave enough to put themselves out there, knowing they are risking their lives to protect these American rights.”

In Division I for fifth- and sixth-graders, the local winning entries were submitted by Matthew Hoang and Remy Vancil from Red Rocks Elementary, and Braedon Currah from King-Murphy Elementary. 

In Division II for seventh- and eighth-graders, the winning entries in addition to Sierra’s were from Claudia Love and Iris Heidenfelder of Evergreen Middle School. The Division II entries also went on to win the district and state levels of judging. Claudia received a $75 savings bond, and Iris received a $50 savings bond. 

Rotary scholarship recipients

Four Evergreen High School Interact students are recipients of $1,000 scholarships from the Rotary Club of Evergreen.

The scholarships were awarded to Peter Hassinger, Madalyn Page, Natalie Tarasar and Emily Wald.

Rotarian Pat Martin, chairman of the club’s Vocational Services Committee, said Interact members at the school select, organize and conduct volunteer projects to benefit people and causes in their school and community. The four students who won the scholarships “have exemplified Rotary’s motto of ‘Service Above Self,’ ” she said.

Martin said Hassinger plans to attend the University of Colorado at Boulder. Tarasar will attend the University of Montana, Wald will study at Smith College, and Page will go to Utah State College.

Have tips about schools in Evergreen? Contact Evergreen resident Deb Hurley Brobst at deb@evergreenco.com.