By TAYLOR HARTZ
For the month of December, Hatton Elementary School kindergarten students created a new winter initiative called “Warm Your Neighbor.”
Combining two assets from the Southington Town Wide Effort to Promote Success (STEPS) program, students focused on the concepts of “Youth as Resources” and “Service to Others.”
The result was the collection of more than 1,500 soup, oatmeal, and hot chocolate donations, that students and staff will distribute to bus drivers, crossing guards, and senior citizens throughout Southington.
Three Kindergarten classes, taught by Kathy Wagner, Kathy Magnoli, and Alissa Votino with long-term substitute Karen Dauphinee, helped the five and six-year-olds lead the collection of donations.
Fifth grade students serving as STEPS representatives assembled coffee-mug shaped cards decorated by Hatton students, and helped raise awareness about the three-week fundraiser by making announcements during lunch.
“The outreach is absolutely amazing,” said P.J. DeBisschop, second-grade teacher and Asset Building Representative between Hatton and STEPS.
With just under 450 students, 1,500 donations came in this December, with students from every grade level dropping off donations at tables set up in the school’s entryway each morning.
“The kindergarteners were the geniuses behind the idea,” said DeBisschop, “but the whole school really came together.”
Charity Baker, a teacher-leader for the district, said the school “had such a great response,” and “it was a great way to bring the whole school together.”
In her first-year working with Hatton, Baker said the “Warm Your Neighbor” project was a great way to feel connected to the whole community.
“It was a great opportunity for the school to collaborate and warm some hearts,” said Baker.
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Taylor Hartz, email her at THartz@SouthingtonObserver.com.