“Their Faces Are Going To Be Happy”
At Lincoln Elementary more than 50, fifth grade students applied to serve on the student council. “It’s so great that so many want to participate,” said sponsor Katie Chambers with a sad smile, “but we know that to make sure the experience has value and we can manage several projects, we limit the number to 25.” Students must write an essay, participate in an interview process, and obtain a letter of recommendation and a letter of support from their teacher to be considered. They do this because they want to serve.
At Christmastime the Student Council at Lincoln participates in the Hanover Township Trustee’s Office Angel Tree program. “We specifically request one large family and then give them the best Christmas possible. We want to give one good family a great Christmas,” said Mrs. Chambers. This year, the Council worked hard on behalf of a grandmother who is providing a home for her four grandchildren. Collectively nearly $1000. was raised through a pajama and stuffed animal day and generous donations from many Lincoln families.
A very organized, one hour shopping expedition to Target in St. John is a highlight for the 20 Council members, staff and volunteers who meet at the store. Armed with clipboard lists, calculators and shopping carts the students get to work. In one hour, four carts are heaped full with the dreams and wishes of the family. “It could get crazy,” said Mrs. Chambers, “but it doesn’t. We’re very mindful of the fact that there are other shoppers in the store and the kids were really great.” In addition to Mrs. Chambers, fellow teacher and frequent Student Council helper, Jackie Klear and parent volunteers Mrs. Oostman and Mrs. Twiddy, as well as Principal Melissa Walley kept the students focused and on task. Students keep track of how much money they spend as they go along in an effort to come as close as possible to making sure the family’s wishes are met. “By the time we were done, their wish lists were complete and we had wrapping paper, boxes and everything else we needed with a little money left over. We were able to provide items for a family movie night, as well as a gift card for the grandmother,” said Mrs. Chambers with very a happy smile.
The students had a game plan, they had lists and they had a budget and most importantly they took the task very seriously. In her own words, 5th grader Skylar Ferry confirms how important the outing was for the Council members. “My group was shopping for an 11 year old girl,” she said. Skylar will be 11 next month and found it easy to make a connection. “I liked knowing we were doing something good for someone else,” she said with a maturity well beyond her years. “It made my day knowing we were giving someone a great Christmas. I think their faces are going to be really happy when they see what we got them,” she added with a shy smile. Skylar has learned lessons of giving at home; “My family donates to toy drives so people can have something under their tree,” she explained. It wasn’t all serious, and there were lighthearted moments during the shopping expedition. Skylar describes the students shopping for underwear and tucking them discreetly under other items in the cart.
One morning just before the holiday break the Council members met early to wrap and stack the presents. “It gives them the feeling of…Oh my gosh this is a great Christmas! It’s the feeling most parents have when they shop for their own kids. This feeling of giving is what it should be all about,” said Mrs. Chambers.
Thank you Lincoln Elementary School Student Council for making us proud and sharing that feeling.
Getting to Know Principal Walley
Melissa Walley brought many years of teaching experience to Lincoln Elementary when she first arrived as Assistant Principal in August of 2012. Mrs. Walley previously taught at Our Lady of Guadalupe School in Chicago, as well as serving the School City of Hobart for thirteen years. She became Principal at Lincoln Elementary in August of 2013. She is a native of Crown Point and continues to reside in her hometown with husband Dennis, two teenage daughters, Hannah and Ella, and her Pomeranian, Tessa.
Mrs. Walley earned a Master's Degree in Educational Administration from Purdue University Calumet, a Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education, and an Associate’s Degree in Early Childhood Education. “I believe that one of the most important and exciting things an educator can do is to keep learning,” says Walley. She received the honor of the 1st District American Legion Department of Indiana Educator of the Year in 2016.
She is an avid reader and brings her love of reading and learning to all of the students at Lincoln Elementary School, through events and activities such as the One School, One Book initiative. "For the past two years, this initiative has offered a book to each student to read together with their families. At school, we discuss the book, just like we talk about current events, movies, and video games. To date we have read The One and Only Ivan and Stuart Little. Both books have created new experiences and exciting memories for my students."
January Dates To Remember
January 10 – PTO Meeting at 3:30 p.m.
January 10 - Hanover School Board of Trustees Meeting @ 6:30 p.m. Location and Agenda coming soon.
January 13 - No School
January 16 - No School
January 19th - Night Out With The Superintendent - Hanover Central Middle School @ 6:30 p.m.
January 23 – Pint Size Blood Drive Begins (Details can be found in the current issue of Paw Prints. Please visit the “Parent” tab and select “Newsletter-Lincoln Elementary School” for details.
January 25th – Talent Show at 6:30 p.m.