Robbins Elementary Holds Volunteer Day
About 30 volunteers from the Robbins area learned more about life in a public school Tuesday when they participated in the inaugural “Rocket Day” at Robbins Elementary School.
The community members were invited to the event — the brainchild of Principal Heather Seawell — by individual classroom instructors. Volunteers attended a welcoming reception before spending an hour on classroom assignments.
“I attended a United Way Day of Caring event and thought that it would be great if the community could know what a day at Robbins Elementary School is like,” Seawell said. “We have volunteers helping out today by reading to the kids, editing the students’ writing, helping them with math, and assisting in other activities.”
One of Tuesday’s volunteers was Robbins Mayor Lonnie English, who gave Judy Oerke’s third grade class a “stay in school” message.
“Don’t think school is just a play time,” he said. “If you read you will succeed.”
Asked by one student how to have a career in the military, English, an Army veteran, said to “pay attention to your teachers, stay in school and graduate.”
At the conclusion of his presentation, children from the class said English was their “BMF,” or “best mayor forever.”
Marlyn MacDonald of Seven Lakes has been a volunteer at Robbins Elementary for the past 10 years.
“A group of us come to the school once a week to help the pre-K classes with whatever they need,” MacDonald said. “We do the alphabet with the kids, numbers and color identification, just to name a few. I am a retired pre-K teacher myself and I just love the little ones.”
Classroom teacher LaSanya Moseley said that she requests MacDonald’s services each year.
“Volunteers allow for more one on one time for the teachers,” she said, “and we couldn’t ask for more in Mrs. MacDonald. She does activities with the kids, she monitors the classroom, and she brings ideas with her. The kids love her.”
Assistance from the public consisted of more than reading and writing. Parent volunteer Ruben DeLean taught his son Isaiah’s pre-K class how to make bird houses.
“I’m having fun, and I think they are too,” he said. “Since I work with tools I thought this would be a good way to share my experience with the kids.”
Principal intern Dante Poole said the day presented community members with an opportunity to see the children in their daily routines, gaining a better appreciation for what their experience is like.
“The public gets to see what the teachers and students do on a given day, and in turn the kids get to learn about what the volunteers do. It’s an important undertaking.”
Poole said the staff asked volunteers to learn “at least one child’s name” during their visit.
“If they see that child in the community, and they remember that student’s name and will address him or her in the process, that could be a meaningful event for that child,” he said.
Kindergarten instructor Andrew Ambrose said that creating community ties is an important undertaking.
“We have a 70 percent Hispanic student body, and sometimes the language barrier hinders the building of community relationships as a result,” he said. “It’s important to have days like these, where community members visit and interact with the kids, because the more that come in, the more comfortable everyone will be with each other. This will then lead to a more successful experience for the students.”
Seawell addressed the assembled volunteers at the conclusion of the event.
“What you have seen was business as usual at Robbins Elementary,” she said. “We just folded you into it. We asked teachers to invite those who they believed their students would want to learn about, and we thought it would be great for the town of Robbins to ‘take over’ Robbins Elementary.
“We were very pleased with the turnout, and we thank you for sharing your time and your experience with us.”
Contact John Lentz at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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