PARKERSBURG - Students from Martin Elementary School paraded through the streets near their school Thursday morning leaving plants and flowers and thank-you cards on residents' porches.
Kelli Wanchick, school counselor, said Thursday's event was a special project to spread kindness and compassion throughout the community as part of Martin Elementary's commitment to Rachel's Challenge, an anti-bullying program named in honor of Rachel Scott, a student murdered in the Columbine High School massacre.
"Every school is required to do character education," said Martin Elementary Principal Karen Brady. "Our school chose Rachel's Challenge. There's a real connection kids can make with her."
Photo by Jody Murphy
Allisson Wedekamm waits to hand out a plant as students prepare for their parade.
The parade was organized by Martin Elementary's Kindness/Compassion Club, comprised of the school's fourth- and fifth-grade students. Wanchick said the parade was a culmination of club events this year.
KC Club members have purchased new books for the school's library for younger students, installed additional flower beds on school grounds, collected pop tabs for the Ronald McDonald House and assisted with cleanup at Fort Boreman Park.
"These are special projects to spread kindness and compassion through the community," Wanchick said.
More than 250 students participated in the 45-minute parade, linked by a paper chain formed throughout the school year. The chain consists of links for acts of kindness witnessed at school. There were 934 links in the chain. Students were led by the KC Club and a Parkersburg police escort.
Brady said the parade is in its second year. Last year the KC Club joined with students from neighboring Edison Middle School for the parade. The two schools joined forces to obtain grant money for programs to combat bullying.