Student leadership was on display at Thornwood Elementary at a recent Breakfast with Santa event.
Student Council members from Spring Forest Middle School partnered with students from their feeder school to spread extra holiday cheer and a message on the importance of service to others.
Approximately 60 students from the Thornwood community and their families turned out for the festivities.
“Seeing our community teens taking on a leadership role for our younger children, it’s a big win for our school and community,” said Thornwood Principal Vicki Lullo. For Lullo the entire event embodied the spirit of giving and the idea that it takes a village to raise a child. “The goal was to bring extra holiday cheer for children and to instill the concept of service to others,” said Terri Cyphers.
Cyphers coordinates the Student Council students at Spring Forest Middle. Student Council members receive training throughout the year, and community service experiences like the breakfast event are part of their learning curriculum. “Many years ago a middle school council presented a similar project,” said Cyphers. “We loved the idea but wanted to provide a more meaningful and personal experience for the kids involved.”
That meaningful experience included council members being buddies for each of the Thornwood students, escorting them to games, crafts, breakfast, and a visit with Santa. “Our students love the attention and connection they get from the older students,” said Lullo.
“Of course they love the event, but you can tell they enjoy the attention from their peers. It instills a pay-it-forward mindset.” Many of the Spring Forest students are themselves graduates of Thornwood and eager to give back to their alma mater. “My favorite part is seeing how excited the kids get,” said 8th-grader Paige Dial.
Without Dial and her classmates' hard work, the morning wouldn’t have happened. “The collaboration of students is why this event happens,” said Cyphers. “The kids love it, and my council kids love it. It’s about the intrinsic joy of giving.”