PRAIRIE CITY, Iowa - Sixth graders at Prairie City-Monroe Middle School packaged 30,000 meals Friday as part of a service learning project.
School officials say service learning is a course the all students are required to take in the sixth grade, and involves a community service project at the end of the academic quarter. Jennifer Ropes, a teacher for the course, says students in the last quarter wanted to host a mobile hunger drive, through Meals from the Heartland, but knew the challenge of raising the required $3,000 would be tough. So the students hosted a "Weekend of Service," asking members of the community to pledge a certain dollar amount to a student for how many hours they'd spend at the school over the course of the weekend working on various service projects. After raising the required amount, students in this fourth academic quarter are packaging the meals, set to aid those in need both here in Iowa, and overseas.
"Well, I try to just help the sixth graders understand that every sixth grader can make an impact," Ropes said. "Every single one of them can make a difference in the world. And they have their own unique talents, and they can share those with other people. Also, it's so valuable to them and it makes them feel so good to help others."
Ropes also says this sets the bar high for students next fall in her course, though she's optimistic they'll rise to the challenge; in the past two years alone, she says students at PCM Middle School have completed about 24 service projects.