First Lady Parson Visits West 4th Graders
June 13 was an exciting day for Ozark fourth graders in Rachel Hall’s Summer School class at Ozark West Elementary. Missouri First Lady Teresa Parson stopped by the classroom to talk to students about giving back and thank them for participating in her CommUNITY Service Challenge.
“I’m so excited that you’re going to do my challenge all together as a class. That is very, very nice,” Parson told the students. “I personally find it so rewarding to try to help people or to do kind things for people because you get more out of it than what you give sometimes.”
The goal of the First Lady’s CommUNITY Service Challenge is to instill in kids a heart for service by asking them to devote a part of their summer serving others. Summer School teacher Rachel Hall said when she started talking to students about the challenge, they responded with excitement and were eager to start serving.
“Fourth graders are old enough to recognize how much Ozark pours into them, and I think they are ready to give back. They were excited to do some things for our community,” Hall said. “They had bigger ideas than I had. They wanted to build houses for the homeless and buy the police new cars. It was exciting to see them get so into it.”
While students are not building houses or buying cars, they did agree on many service projects including holding a cereal drive for Least Of These, collecting old towels & blankets for HavaHeart Dog Rescue, making a window craft for residents at Century Pines, and writing notes to veterans and school helpers. On June 13, students made goodie bags for police officers and firefighters with the help of the First Lady.
After talking to the students about the importance of giving back to the community, Parson gave all the kids a T-shirt, which she graciously autographed. It was certainly a day these fourth graders will not soon forget.
“The kids were so excited. For the First Lady to fit this into her busy schedule is really incredible and the students really appreciated it,” Hall said.