GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

Opinion

November 5, 2012

My View: O'Maley SAILS into student service

Last Friday, the O’Maley Innovation Middle School held its first community “Day of Service.”

This was a day designed for O’Maley students to go out into the community for the purpose of volunteering their efforts in a variety of ways, from doing cleanup at historical cemeteries and museums to helping out senior citizens however they could. Overall, staff and students went out into the community with the intention of bringing together their collective efforts to give back to Gloucester.

The actual name of the program for this day of service is the “First Annual O’Maley Gives Back.” This day of service is part of the school’s SAILS initiative, which is its primary and major character education program.

The SAILS program is now in its second year. The acronym stands for Service, Acceptance, Integrity, Leadership, and Success. Students spent part of the O’Maley Gives Back day “out in the field” and then they returned to school to complete an academic assignment about their experience. As a springboard to the writing, students discussed “The Giving Tree” by Shel Silverstein, a book and movie about a relationship between a young boy and a tree, and about the sacrifices that we sometimes make for one another.

But, with respect to giving, we really should let the students speak for themselves. The following statements are taken from student responses to a writing prompt they worked on after they returned to school.

“I knew it was service because I was doing something not for my own gain. I knew it was integrity because I was doing something that not many people would do on their own. I knew it was leadership because it takes a leader to do the right thing or something nobody else likes to do. I knew it was success because I felt successful.”

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