Mustangs learn charity can begin on a neighbor’s lawn

Published 11:01 pm Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Student life at J.P. King Jr. Middle School is not strictly all about academics and any kind of  athletics. There’s also character development. 

A Franklin City Public Schools news release stated that to promote strong positive traits in students, each month is dedicated to their learning and experiencing a quality that can benefit everybody.

September was about learning respect and meeting the counselors. In October, the prevention of bullying was the focus. One lesson was that undoing the harmful effects of bullying is like the struggle of putting toothpaste back into a tube using only toothpicks. The theme for November was empathy and charity, but a scheduling conflict pushed any lessons to mid-December, at which time learning about gratitude and charity became the object.

Tawuana Brown, professional school counselor, and Hyesha Pope, COVID testing coordinator, canvassed JPK’s neighbors for those open to the offer of Mustangs raking and bagging leaves at four homes.

With two households accepting the offer, Brown and Barbara Pickel, school nurse, led a selected group of Mustangs to the task.

Jim and Carolyn Hudgins, on nearby 4th Avenue, were most appreciative, and they came outside to watch the students at work and pose in a photo with them.

“I wanted to help,” said Davion Newsome on why he volunteered. 

While acknowledging the raking helps other people, Anna Henry said the project also gave her “a chance to get outside and walk around.” 

Carissa Davis, who already rakes and mows at home, said the project “helps people out and makes them happy.”

The Mustangs continued to spread happiness at the second house, the home of Allen Morris,

around the corner on High Street and 2nd Avenue. Likewise, he was thankful for the students’ help.

Brown said of the outing, “I think it was a great success. It really provided the reinforcement

of the charity lesson. It’s one thing to sit in the classroom and go through the lesson. But to

actually put your hands to rake and engage with the homeowners is another.”

The theme for January was self-discipline. 

Other upcoming traits to develop will be kindness in February, cooperation in March, perseverance in April, integrity in May and confidence this June.