Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta


Service Projects ‘Make The Grade’ At Atlanta School

By ERIKA ANDERSON, Staff Writer | Published December 21, 2006

At St. Jude the Apostle School, students of all ages learn to give back to their community.

Each grade participates in a specific service project throughout the year, giving students a head start on making a difference in their world.

The kindergarten class at St. Jude organizes an annual toy drive benefiting the Sullivan Center, a nonprofit organization in downtown Atlanta that works to prevent homelessness.

Over a two-week period, kindergarteners dressed as elves pulled wagons around the school and collected new toys from the St. Jude students. Over 500 toys were collected. The kindergarten classes loaded the trucks with all the toys, and parents delivered them to the grateful staff at the Sullivan Center. They will be used as Christmas gifts for children of the more than 100 families who are served by the center.

The first graders at St. Jude worked with the eighth-grade students on their project, the teddy bear picnic. Each year, first-grade students are assigned an eighth-grade “buddy.” The buddies typically gather together each year with their favorite teddy bears and blankets to watch the movie “The Teddy Bear Picnic.” This year, the event was expanded into a service project as the students brought in a new or gently used teddy bear to donate to the Sandy Springs Police Department. Police Lt. David Bertrand visited the first-grade students to talk about police work and how the officers would use the teddy bears. Later he escorted the students to his police car, in which they placed their bears.

In the fourth grade, students at the school typically learn about the power of prayer through their own prayer wall project. In the fall of 2005, fourth-grade teacher Sandy Kiphart read a newspaper article about a high school football player who was fighting cancer. His name was placed on the wall, and soon others were added. As the project expanded, students formed groups to create cards and letters to send each week to those for whom they were praying. Last year, over 1,200 cards were distributed all over the country. Students also make rosaries each week and pray a decade for those on the prayer wall.

Sixth-grade students had to step up their chores in mid-October as they raised money to fund a new computer for local Vietnamese refugees.

Sister Christine Truong My Hanh, RGS, director of Good Shepherd Services, visited St. Jude in the fall and spoke to the sixth grade about their need for a computer. The students performed chores for donations and raised $800. In addition to the computer, the students also provided book donations to the Good Shepherd children and made goodie bags with candy, a rosary and a personal note.

Finally, middle school students in St. Jude’s sixth, seventh and eighth grades participated in the 11Alive Holiday Can-a-Thon, which collects canned good for the Salvation Army’s Food Bank. Students formed teams and held a competition to collect cans. The winning team was charged with the task of taking the more than 2,500 collected canned goods from the school to the collection center at Turner Field.

St. Jude the Apostle School serves students in kindergarten through eighth grade, and is located at 7171 Glenridge Drive NE in Atlanta.