Cool Schools: Emmons Elementary School wins Outreach to Teach service project

Cool Schools: Emmons Elementary School wins Outreach to Teach service project

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MISHAWAKA, Ind. -- A Michiana school built in the 1950s is getting a makeover. 

Students and Teachers at Emmons Elementary School say the building could use some work. 

“You can tell it’s not the newest,” said Dasyre Suggs, a sixth grader at Emmons.

“It could definitely be remodeled,” said Daniel Phillips, a sixth grader at Emmons.

Built in 1958, with few renovations to it since then, there’s only one way to describe the classrooms, hallways, and other areas of it. 

“It looks old school,” said Matthew Wyllie, a sixth grader at Emmons.

However, that will soon change thanks to Jeanine Reynolds. She taught at Emmons for 31 years before retiring this past June. 

“I think you truly have to have a teacher’s heart,” said Reynolds. 

And as one last act of love to her students, Reynolds applied for the Indiana Student Education Association’s Outreach to Teach service project. 

“Their goal is to help brighten up our schools, make them a brighter place,” said Reynolds. 

It’s an annual event where ISEA and community members spend a day giving a deserving public school a makeover.

After taking student demographics, feasibility of projects, and support from the community, ISEA selected Emmons as this year’s recipient. 

“This is something that brings me so much joy because it’s something that we’re doing to help our little guys at Emmons,” said Reynolds. 

The extent of the upgrades depends on how much money the school can raise so right now, they’re asking businesses, alumni, and neighbors to donate. 

“They want to possibly paint some murals in the cafeteria, maybe the gym,” said Reynolds. “They’re talking about doing a sensory walk. Rubber mulch out on our playground, a community garden.”

Projects that create a fun learning environment, excites students, and encourages them to excel. 

“It’ll get us motivated,” said Phillips.

“Just inspires people more,” said Suggs.

“It’ll give me a better feeling about what’s going to happen today in school,” said Wyllie.

“It just shows her commitment to the kids in general,” said Brad Addison, principal at Emmons Elementary School. “The fact that she nominated us knowing that she wouldn’t be here to see the benefits of this project but knowing that it’s about the kids and the teachers.” 

“Kids are our future and it’s an investment in our future,” said Reynolds. “If they come into a building that is not a positive, happy place it can definitely affect them. They need to come to a school that’s happy and welcoming and that is pleasing to the eye.”

“Regardless of what school you’re at, the investment into our kid’s futures and trying to make school as connected experience for as possible is huge,” said Addison. “We know that the students that are more connected to school, it’s proven in statistics about their progress in the future going to middle school, to high school, their graduation rates.”

Outreach to Teach is April 18.  

If you would like to donate to the project or learn how to volunteer, click here.

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