Destined for Greatness
Knowing the detached experience of distance learning was complicating students’ ability to uphold academic participation and performance, NatStuCo members at Chula Vista High School in Chula Vista, CA, developed an awards-based system to promote increased productivity. Members created various digital award certificates as well as a request form for teachers to complete. The form allowed teachers to select a certificate design, the reason a student was receiving recognition (e.g., attendance, achievement, participation, excellence, most improved), the name of the recipient, and the virtual in-hands deadline for the certificate’s distribution. Members digitally made and delivered each award certificate to alleviate teachers of the tasks. Behavior-based certificates helped encourage student participation, and academic-based certificates honored accomplishments while fostering further academic improvement.
NatStuCo members at Green Valley High School partnered with a local food bank to support the homeless in Henderson, NV. Members formed teams and distributed flyers to assigned neighborhoods to encourage community participation. Over 50 households contributed nonperishable food items by leaving boxes or bags of items on their driveways. Members retrieved and delivered all contributions to the food bank, where they helped unload and organize items. Students were proud to safely involve the entire community amid a pandemic and were impressed by the outpouring of support.
Toys for Tails
Inspired by the season of giving, Highlands Intermediate NatStuCo members in Pearl City, HI, put together a “Favors 4 Furry Friends” toy drive last November to benefit local animals at the Hawaiian Humane Society. Members encouraged students to contribute toys and create bandanas for cats and dogs. The Hawaiian Humane Society was taken aback by the students’ generosity and support, and students discovered how it feels especially good to do something for the community during difficult times.
ISBN Thinking About You
Hoping to help elementary school teachers maintain student interest in the virtual learning environment, Linden Avenue Middle School NatStuCo members in Red Hook, NY, created a “Story Time” program in which they read favorite books from their younger years to classes. Teachers were grateful for the support and touched by the involvement of older siblings in their youngsters’ classrooms. The readings boosted interest, and teachers gained about 15 minutes per class to complete administrative work. In addition to live readings, members used iMovie to record themselves reading stories for later use. “Story Time” created a link between three school buildings, and many members have offered to continue their involvement in this project.
A Link to the Past and a Bridge to the Future
When COVID-19-related precautions meant most students, faculty, and staff members at Eastlake High School in El Paso, TX, would spend the holidays among immediate family only, NatStuCo members noticed a silver lining and presented safe, scaled-back gatherings as an opportunity to discover and celebrate heritage. Before the holidays, members shared resources for genealogical websites, historical associations, and other outlets to explore family history. They also promoted participation through a “Remember Your Roots” campaign on social media. Members were impressed by the student engagement and the school spirit that grew out of people recognizing and honoring the rich diversity that makes up Eastlake High School.
Realizing both hybrid learning and a return to in-person learning were amplifying anxiety for students, NatStuCo members at Ensign Intermediate School in Newport Beach, CA, created a committee to help their peers manage. After researching coping methods, members created a mindfulness challenge to prompt students to take moments to just be in their own lives through activities such as journaling, taking short walks, and going to bed 30 minutes earlier than normal. They promoted the challenge on fliers, bulletin boards, and social media and even produced a commercial for the school video announcements.
Couldn’t Mask for a Better Outcome
NatStuCo members at J.D. Smith Middle School in North Las Vegas, NV, realized many families in their community would not be able to enjoy a bountiful Thanksgiving dinner. After their initial plans to provide some semblance of tradition to selected families through a canned food and gift card drive fell through due to rising COVID-19 numbers, members were happily surprised by an anonymous donor who contributed more than 50 turkeys and gift cards to a local grocery store for each recipient family. Students used the gift cards to buy items to complete food donation boxes for each family. They also arranged for bilingual social workers to help during distribution. Everyone maintained social distancing, and students learned that you can still accomplish community service in a pandemic.
Pink Hair, Don’t Care
Last October, during Breast Cancer Awareness Month, NatStuCo members at Piedmont High School in Monroe, NC, continued their tradition of celebrating Pink Week to support, encourage, and honor those facing breast cancer diagnosis, treatment, and recovery. Festivities bore even more importance this time around, after students learned the mother of a set of twins involved in student government won her breast cancer battle. Especially inspired, members teamed up with the football coach to indulge in a bit of friendly competition. The football coach selected players from each grade to compete in coin wars. NatStuCo members promoted this battle of the spare change and also got to dye the senior football player’s hair pink on Instagram Live after he won the competition! Other festivities included “Wear Your Pink” and “PINK OUT” days. All events were overwhelmingly successful.