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Oak Ridge Rings Bells for Community

Tyler Cardoza learned about community service early on from his grandmother, who assists the local Boys & Girls Club and donates annually to Toys for Tots.  He eventually got first-hand experience when he began working with Habit for Humanity.  The good feeling that comes from “giving back” continued through his experiences at Oak Ridge School, where service learning is an important part of the curriculum. 

“You learn about it from your peers and the adults,” said the Oak Ridge senior. “It’s important not to be selfish, to think of others.”

Tyler and his homeroom teacher, Mr. Keith Zmijewski, were among several Oak Ridge students and staff members who donned red aprons and today (Friday, Dec. 14) as they rang Salvation Army bells in front of the Village Fresh Market in Carpentersville.  Blue skies were on their side as they greeted shoppers and cheerfully raised funds to aid the less fortunate in the D300 community.  In past years, the students have faced snow, rain, and wind as they rang the famous bells during the holiday season.

Jackie Arroyo, also a senior at Oak Ridge, remembers well those wintery hours pacing the grocery store sidewalk.   This was her fourth year participating in the school’s Salvation Army service learning project.

“I chose to come because it’s nice helping out,” Jackie said. “If I were in a situation where I needed help, I’d hope that people would do this for me.”

In the 11 years that Oak Ridge has been ringing the bell, the students have raised over $4,000 for the community, ranging from $360 to $560 a year, according to school social worker Maria Wywialowski.

“Our students do research projects in advance to prepare for bell ringing,” Wywialowski said. “Following bell ringing, students will fill out a reflection form regarding their experience, which tends to be very meaningful and positive.”

 

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Community Unit School District 300

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