Students at Weigelstown Elementary School have been learning a lot about giving lately, and one of the ways they’re giving back to the community is by honoring someone who gave a lot to them.
Tracy Wilson was a substitute teacher, and some of Weigelstown Elementary School’s fourth graders had her for nearly the entire school year as a long-term substitute when they were in second grade.
Fourth grade teacher Ashley Shetter said Wilson was a “phenomenal” teacher who made a great impact on students. About a month ago, Wilson passed away.
“She loved animals,” Shetter said, and Wilson requested donations to the SPCA be made in lieu of flowers at her funeral. Many of Shetter’s students wanted to give back and do something special for Wilson, the teacher said, and so they worked with the PTO to organize a school-wide donation drive.
Fourth-grader Tyler Mabeus had Wilson for second grade.
“She was one of my favorite teachers,” Tyler said. He remembered her bringing gummi worms to class, and that she helped him calm down when he needed it.
His mom, Lori Mabeus, said that Tyler has a peanut allergy, and Wilson was particularly sensitive to that. Wilson called around holidays, Mabeus said. They recently hung an ornament from her on their Christmas tree.
“I hung it right in the middle,” Tyler said.
Damien Sheets, another fourth grader, said Wilson was a lot of fun. She gave up her lunchtime to play with him when he had no one to play with, he said.
“When I was sad she tried to cheer me up,” he said.
Other ways of giving: The SPCA drive is just one way students at Weigelstown, in the Dover Area School District, have been
learning about giving. The school changed its typical fall festival into a week of events around the theme of being thankful and giving back.
Here’s a look at what else the school has been doing:
- Each student in the school wrote something they are thankful for on colored paper acorn, creating a “Thankful Tree” in the lobby.
- Students have been creating artwork for Providence Place, a nearby retirement home, including notes on things they are thankful for and their wishes.
- The school has been collecting donations for victims of Hurricane Sandy. Some ofthe students have family members who were affected by the storm. The school has mostly been collecting cleaning supplies and gift cards to help families rebuild, said Lori Mabeus, who is PTO secretary.
“We’re trying to build better citizens,” said Principal Davonna Rickard.