Friday, April 29, 2016

Message in a Bottle

On our "Water for Flint" delivery day, Chris' Third and Fourth Graders began loading the buses bright and early with the assistance of Karl's 7/8th graders! We filled up two of our school buses and even had to store water on and under the seats!

Kindergartners (with lunches in tow, just in case) enthusiastically loaded themselves on the buses soon after.

Upon our arrival at the International Academy of Flint (IAF), we were warmly greeted by the school's delightful Director of School and Community Relations, Mr. Art Wenzlaff and a handful of strong and willing older students.  These young men got right to work and quickly unloaded our precious cargo with us.

Malik (far right) and another gentlemen even carried some cases two at a time!)  

IAF's adorable and awesome Kindergartners met up with us to say Thank you and gave each of us a high five (and some tens) for our efforts.

Mrs. Shepp, the school's (AQC) Academic Quality Controller ( I referred to her as the "Awesome Quality Coordinator") and Mrs. Janie Brown from Detroit, our Missions Coordinator who located this school site for our donation oversaw the delivery of our 1000+ bottles of water.

International Academy of Flint Young Ladies chatted about attending their school's formal dance then graciously lead us on an impressive tour of the building that included many students (5 sections of Kindergarten!) several computer labs, a formal library, gymnasium, a serenity garden and cafeteria!

One student, cozied up to a book during D.E.A.R. (Drop Everything and Read) and actually fell asleep before and during our visit.  I wished I could have joined her!

Still other IAF students created and posted motivational posters throughout the school to encourage each other during their standardized testing activities. Although our school does not participate in those kinds of tests, those words are helpful to us as well!

We visited Ms. Weinberg's amazing Third Graders and were able to ask (as well as answer) many questions of each other.  One of our favorite questions was, "Do you have a best friend in your class?"  Many IAFers and SKers responded to that inquiry!

Kindergartners then participated in buddy reading while the 3/4th graders conducted interviews regarding the impact the water crisis had on IAF 3rd graders and their families.

Ms. Weinberg also mentioned that prior to our arrival, she asked her class  if they would be willing to come to the aid of Ann Arbor if we had a problem.  The children stated that they would!

During Monday Morning Meeting back at SK, several students asked questions and expressed their concerns about the waste that would obviously be generated by all of the empty water bottles.  We were happy to learn that Flint Michigan has a successful recycling program and that IAF has convenient receptacles right in the classroom and around the building.

The Third Graders took time out of their otherwise busy schedule to strike a beautiful pose!

During our tour through the hallways we found many similarities in our two schools.   And, although we have cubby hooks instead of lockers, both of our students have studied Wassily Kandinsky in Art class this year! 

Just when I thought that this school couldn't get any better with it's amenities, Mr. Wenzlaff asked if we had seen the school's pool.  He immediately disappeared  around the corner of the building and returned with . . .what else? a wading pool like the one in the quiet corner of our Kindergarten class.

Kindergartners enjoyed their sack lunches in the serenity garden before our departure. Mr. Wenzlaff also informed us that the school housed a fleet of lawn mowers that IAF students used on weekends to service lawns in the school's surrounding neighborhood. They also prepare a large Thanksgiving dinner for the community each year.

Right before boarding our bus to return to Ann Arbor, we were honored with an introduction to International Academy of Flint's Gates Scholar Zakeria Nelson and her family.

Shared experiences, like our visit today, enrich us, inform us and hopefully teach us how to go through adversity with strength, integrity, and resiliency like the students at International Academy of Flint.  We were honored to be there!

1 comment:

  1. It is Mrs. Shepp, not Sheff and her title is AQC, not IQC. Which stands for Academic Quality Controler. Just thought I would help keep the facts straight! Love the article and seeing photos of our school and kiddos!