Nine Penn Wynne Elementary School students were recently selected as recipients of the 2017 Young Heroes Award sponsored by the National Liberty Museum and TD Bank for their service project, "Hats for Haiti."
The Young Heroes Award recognizes young people who have taken action to make positive social change in their schools and communities. Each year, this program looks for students who have "championed liberty by engaging in civic activities; promoted respectful solutions to conflict; advocated for diversity and inclusive environments for everyone; and sought out leadership roles in their community."
During the 2016-17 school year, third grade students Ashley Meraz-Guevara, Avery Sill, Eva Grant, Gavriella Adelman, Hailey Miller, Jessie Liao, Julia Menschik, Sage Bowman and Sophia Fendo were inspired to take action in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew, which left death and destruction in its' wake when it made landfall in Haiti last year.
The students collaborated with staff and administrators to brainstorm ideas and figure out the best way they could help Haiti. Ultimately, the students invited their classmates to participate in "Hats for Haiti" – a school-wide fundraiser with the goal of raising at least $741 (equivalent to student enrollment) for disaster relief, along with increasing awareness among students about the on-going situation in Haiti.
The first step was for the students to learn as much as they could about Haiti by working with Penn Wynne librarian Brahin Tabb to conduct research. Students then created informational posters illustrating the destructive impact of Hurricane Matthew, along with a short presentation that was delivered to each class in the school. On the day of the fundraiser, all students were invited to wear "Hats for Haiti" as a show of solidarity for the hurricane-ravaged country. In the end, the Penguins exceeded their goal and raised more than $800, which was donated to UNICEF and disaster relief in Haiti.
All winners received recognition at an awards ceremony at the Museum and have their stories featured for one year in a Museum exhibit. They receive a certificate of achievement, medallion, and other gifts. They may also have the opportunity to represent this program at future Museum events.