Fountain Elementary celebrates community projects

By: Kevin Bunch | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published December 22, 2015

 Reini and Karolynn Bishop pose for a photo. Both kids are part of the school’s leadership team.

Reini and Karolynn Bishop pose for a photo. Both kids are part of the school’s leadership team.

Photo by Sean Work

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ROSEVILLE — Fountain Elementary School students were honored in an assembly Dec. 10 for their work organizing a variety of community service projects since the start of the school year in September.

Kathy Giese, a tech paraprofessional at the Roseville elementary school, said students formed a leadership team with 12 members, with each participant filling out an application and being reviewed by a school panel. The staff then suggested to the students on the leadership team that they should consider doing community service projects, she said.

“All the kids and their parents were all on board,” Giese said. “Each of the students designed a service project or did some kind of fundraising.”

Fountain Elementary Principal Wayne Johnson said the leadership team is the culmination of an idea he had been developing for a few years. He said that thanks to an anonymous donation of $1,000, the school was able to make it happen.

“I was tired of seeing people only focused on themselves,” Johnson said. “I felt that if we’re going to change the next generation, we need to start here in elementary school.”

The object, he added, is for every student on the leadership team to do something that benefits the community at some point during the school year.

Among the student projects, Giese said, was a fundraiser organized by student Karolynn Bishop that let students wear hats in school for a dollar. She raised about $268, Giese said, and the money all went to a hospital cancer ward to buy things, like games and books, for children to use while receiving treatment.

Another student, Spencer Reini, did a bottle drive for two weeks on his own time, which raised $354 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Giese said. Fifth-grader Cathleen Reboggio organized a Christmas caroling session at a local American House senior living facility, and another student, Ben Delisio, helped sort and pack boxes of food for needy families at Hope Center in Macomb; Giese said the school helped by having its own canned food drive.

Aubrey Liske wanted to give back to the school’s teachers and has been giving them little homemade treats and gifts each month, Johnson said.

Fountain Elementary’s assembly Dec. 10 highlighted the activities that students have done so far, but there are other projects planned.

“Each month, we have different things coming up,” Giese said. “January, we’re doing adopt-an-animal; another student is doing fundraising for (Relay for Life’s) Relay Recess for Roseville-East Detroit; and around Easter time, the kids are going to be going to a senior living center and doing Easter (activities).”

Giese said she is hoping that by highlighting these activities, they can interest more students in getting involved in the future.

Johnson said that in looking forward, he would like to see the leadership team double in size, and he would like to find a way to help the current students attend a national leadership conference in July. The $1,000 donation has been spent on uniforms and on a trip for the participants to the University of Michigan, and Johnson said he would like to try and get more donations — or possibly business sponsorships — to help.

The students are also doing candy bar sales to help raise additional funds, Johnson said. None of the staff involved are getting any kind of compensation, he added, so all the money they have gathered is going to the kids and the program.

He said that ultimately, he is hoping to help train students now to know what they need to become successful in their adult lives.

“If they start working hard now, they can get those habits in place and hopefully qualify (for a university),” Johnson said. “Just because we’re from Roseville and this area — I don’t want anything different for our kids than those in West Bloomfield. They should have the same opportunity as anyone else, and I’m going to make sure that happens.”

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