‘A Caring School Community’ is one of three pillars the high school preparatory school has set as a goal for their students, which is displayed in the yearly service projects that each class grade takes on.
First-grade held a Read-a-thon raising over $2,000 for Heifer International for their “Read to Feed” project while the eighth grade class raised money for the same organization by hiring themselves out for tutoring, cleaning and babysitting.
Other classes gathered pet supplies for the Sonoma County Animal Shelter, raised money for the World Wildlife Fund, supported an orphanage in Africa and one in Sonoma County and raised money to educate a little girl in Guatemala for two years.
“When we discuss service here at The Healdsburg School, we are very aware that we are all interconnected,” said Head of School Sandi Passalacqua of the projects that are aimed at organizations locally as well as globally.
This year, the second grade class began an ‘Ocean Helpers’ project that looked at a wider scope of ocean pollution and how trash could travel from Healdsburg through the river and eventually into the ocean.
Part of the presentation gave statistics on oceans containing 99 percent of the living space on the planet, how much life is found under the ocean, how big the garbage patch is that is floating in the North Pacific Ocean and what the class has done this year to help combat the problem.
“I am an ocean helper because I love the ocean and the ocean loves me. I love the animals in the sea and the ocean needs me. The ocean gives us things we need so we need to give back to the ocean,” one second-grade boy presented.
Along with daily campus cleanups and teaching fellow classmates about garbage and recycling, the seventeen second-graders took weekly walks down Healdsburg Avenue using their garbage grabbers to clean up trash around the bridge and Railroad Park.
“They have really directed this project and the process themselves,” said second grade teacher Ashley Lapham.
With help from the city, the students have adopted Railroad Park and plan to continue the service project with incoming second-grade classes in future years.
The Ocean Helpers project was inspired by a non-profit organization started by Cyndi Stubbs with the goal of urging people to pick up plastic and Styrofoam to prevent the trash from ending up in the oceans. Ocean Helpers works with elementary and community education programs giving away trash grabbers and setting up cleanup locations and programs.
Throughout the year students separated the trash into three piles, one for trash, one for recycle and one for reusable materials that students could use to create art projects.
At the closing assembly, the class reported that they had collected 128-pounds of trash and recycling. Each second-grade student also gave a testimony as to why their project was important and how it made them feel.
“I feel like I need to clean the environment because if I don’t I feel like the animals aren’t being taken care of,” a second-grade girl presented.
The Healdsburg School was founded with the goal of being the best high school preparatory school in Sonoma County. Three pillars support this purpose: rigorous academics, a caring school community and social responsibility locally and globally.