Fifth graders at Ninth District Elementary came up with the idea earlier this year to start a fundraiser to buy lockers. The main talking point was that they would move on to college with no experience of using lockers and locks.
Also, the students wanted to use the lockers for storage. The students therefore organized a group and proposed the idea to the school’s CLC coordinator, Julie Muehlenkamp.
Taking advantage of the enthusiasm generated by this idea, the next step was to propose a plan to the director. The students were each assigned a job to help determine the cost and location of the lockers. After much research (and sticker shock due to the cost of getting their own locker for each student), the group decided they wanted to try and raise enough money to buy one locker per class rather than per raised. The proposal was written and delivered to the director.
After the fundraiser was approved, the money-generating ideas started pouring in.
During a meeting with Ms. Muehlenkamp regarding character strengths, a student suggested how she could use her own character strengths to achieve a new goal. She enthusiastically started talking about her love for creativity (one of her main character strengths, as indicated by VIA’s character strength survey) by making bracelets and key rings with beads to sell to friends. Another strength of the student’s character, teamwork, was also used to create her goal: to use her strength in teamwork and her sense of creativity to lead a group of students, who would make bracelets and keychains for sale in an effort to raise funds. for fundraising from the locker.
This student-led project took off like wildfire, and the timing couldn’t have been better. As the Cincinnati Bengals made their historic playoff run to the Super Bowl, orders for Bengals bracelets were coming in faster than the students could handle. One of the bracelets even made an appearance at the Super Bowl in Los Angeles.
The students have voluntarily given up recess to work on making objects for sale. They love counting profits and using their math skills to figure out how many bracelets they have left to sell until they reach enough money for the first locker.
The power of listening to student voices and setting goals with students based on their strengths goes far beyond wristbands and lockers.
This class is going to leave behind a legacy for future classes – one they will remember every time they practice opening a locker combination at Ninth District Elementary School.