Season of giving

Published 10:32 am Thursday, December 21, 2017

AHOSKIE – ‘Tis the season of giving, and that is on full display here at Ahoskie Elementary School.

Principal Keisha Peele and her staff members are engaged in an effort to build a positive culture at the school, and one way to accomplish that goal is to teach their young students that it’s better to give than to receive.

“Our staff members and those with our PBIS team (Positive Behavior Intervention Support) get together on a regular basis to discuss ways we can nurture a better image for Ahoskie Elementary School,” Peele said. “As people share ideas on how to do that, I let them run with those ideas. One was to do something to give back to our local community during the holidays.”

That turned into a two-fold effort….one to support the Ahoskie Food Pantry and secondly an idea to help the underprivileged families of Ahoskie Elementary students.

Shown here are two of the four boxes of food prepared by students and staff at Ahoskie Elementary School that were delivered to needy families just in time for the Christmas holiday. | Staff Photo by Cal Bryant

“The local food pantry at Ahoskie First Presbyterian Church supports our school through their backpack program, where they provide meals for some of our students during the weekends and during the summer months,” Peele explained. “So we wanted to give back to them.”

School personnel went out into the community seeking donations to support the Ahoskie Food Pantry. Additionally, a PBIS program was put into place for the students. A movie was shown in the school’s gym and admission to that event was for the students to bring canned goods, which were donated to the Food Pantry.

“That was a group effort by our students and our staff,” Peele said.

The second stage of “giving” involved the selection of four underprivileged families with students enrolled at Ahoskie Elementary. Each was presented a gift-wrapped box full of items needed for a traditional Christmas meal, to include turkeys and hams.

“We selected those four families through the recommendations of our staff who chose them based on need,” Peele stated. “We contacted those families to see if they were receptive of these boxes of food, and they were and were most appreciative of our efforts to reach out and help them during this season of giving.”

Peele said the whole point of this exercise of love was to teach the students the value of giving back.

“That’s what we emphasized,” she stressed. “Christmas is not all about what you receive, but rather what you give. We explained that this was all about giving back to the community.”

Headlining the effort were Tammy Mizelle, Care Coordinator at the school, and Ebony Rankins, a guidance counselor.

The PBIS team was led by Leanna Field and Aaron Palmer.

North State Provision of Ahoskie donated all the hams, Piggly Wiggly donated a turkey, and Restoration Worship Temple of God of Murfreesboro made a monetary donation to help purchase the needed food items. One of the staff members at the school provided money to purchase a turkey.

Peele noted that this effort is not the only way the school will be giving back to the community that supports them.

“We have a ‘Pennies for Patients’ program, and we do ‘Hoops for Hearts’; we try to build that culture of giving back,” she said.

The school also hosted an Angel Tree this year to support students and parents in need.

“We will keep on giving; we want to change to image of this school. When I first got here I heard all the negative things, but instead of dwelling on it I decided to do something to change it,” Peele closed. “I went to school here as a child; this school means a lot to me.”

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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