When St. Columban School Champions Site Director Porschaé Whitaker and her team in Loveland, Ohio, started using the new school-age curriculum, they focused on one of our Service Values: “I care about the specific needs of each child at my site.” Little did they know that focus would lead to a breakthrough for one student. Here’s the story in Porschaé’s words.
Molly, a fourth grade Champions student, struggled the first couple of weeks at school with making friends and finding her ‘place’ in the after-school program. In search of comfort and a solution to her internal conflict, Molly confided in both Site Assistant Sarah Robinson and me about her feelings of frustration and why she was disengaged with her peers and Champions program activities.
Later in the week, grades 3-6 had an activity to write a story in their fall journals (part of the new curriculum) based on different story prompts. Molly expressed her disinterest and explained she thought she wasn’t a good writer. We encouraged her to do her best and to try. Within 20 minutes, Molly was writing her heart out and making the activity her own by creating friendly writing challenges with her peers such as ‘who can write the most’ and ‘who wrote the best story.’ Ms. Sarah led this activity and took extra time with Molly after the other students had finished their stories. It was then that Molly shared the trials she was facing.
While Molly kept writing, she began to share her thoughts with Ms. Sarah. Soon after, Molly finished five pages of writing in her journal and explained to us that she was ‘surprised at her outcome’ and felt proud for pushing herself to complete the activity. When her parents came to pick her up, she was still writing and didn’t want to stop. She was so excited to share her story with them.
Today, she loves writing in her journal when coming to Champions and takes the initiative with her new friends at Champions to write creative stories about their day. She is even starting her Student Goal Setting (also part of the new curriculum) with a focus on specific social and emotional accomplishments for the fall and is very eager to continue working on them throughout the school year