Etcetera - 01/18/12

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A grant awarded in July 2011 by the U.S. Department of Education will benefit sixth- and seventh-grade cohort students from Walla Walla and College Place participating in the Washington State University Harvest of Hope III GEAR UP through 2017.

The Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs aims to increase the number of students who are prepared to enter and succeed in postsecondary education, according to a posting at Walla Walla Public Schools Week in Review. Options for postsecondary education are inclusive of two- and four-year higher education institutions and career preparatory training.

Through a blanket drive, Prospect Point Elementary students are spreading the warmth.

Peer and Leadership Support or PALS program fifth graders coordinated the project, under the direction of Kate VanCleve.

Their donations will be distributed by Helpline to families in need. Blankets may be dropped off at Prospect Point during school hours, it noted in Walla Walla Public Schools Week in Review.

To get the word out, students made fliers and school announcements and designed posters. The project also helps the students enhance their math skills. PALS participants measured the gym floor and made a graph-paper scale model to hang in the library. This chart is being implemented to track the drive's progress. "As blankets come in, the kids have measured them and colored in the arrays for the blankets on the graph paper," Kate said. "This is the tool we are using to see if we have reached our school goal."

Sharpstein Elementary students raided their supplies of spare change to benefit Blue Mountain Humane Society.

With holiday giving in mind, the kids brought in spare coins during a weeklong "Change for Good" drive, filling six giant water-cooler bottles, one per class grade. They nominated local charities to receive the donation, and BMHS came out top dog in a school-wide vote, the Walla Walla Public Schools Week in Review reported. "Change for Good" is an initiative of the Sharpstein PTA's Stompers in Service program, which encourages students to participate in community service.

Sara Archer, BMHS director, surprised students on Dec. 12 when she came to accept the students' donation by bringing a special friend with her, a chocolate-colored, Labrador-mix puppy. Students got to name the dog, cheering loudest for "Lucy." First-grade students filled their water bottle with the most change, garnering a special "meet-and-pet" session with Lucy after the morning assembly. "We are so honored that the students at Sharpstein chose BMHS to support," Sara said. "The animals in our care depend on the generosity of our community."

Etcetera appears in daily and Sunday editions. Annie Charnley Eveland can be reached at annieeveland@wwub.com or afternoons at 526-8313.

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