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Goshen elementary school helps students, staff understand why they matter

Published: Feb. 1, 2021 at 5:26 PM EST
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GOSHEN, Ind. (WNDU) - A Goshen elementary school is trying to boost the spirits of students and staff, and to do that, Principal Tami Hicks gave everyone an assignment.

“We wanted everyone to find their self-worth and think and reflect about why they matter,” explained Hicks, of Model Elementary.

Hicks had read about a Chelsea, Mich. high school having its staff and student body do a project about why they, as individuals, matter in this world following the deaths of two students. Hicks and her colleagues agreed the initiative needed to happen at Model.

“Knowing that we are going through a pandemic, we’ve just had political turmoil. There’s just a lot going on in our, in our community and society,” she said.

Called #WhyYouMatter, the project allowed every student and staff member at Model to write a statement about why they matter. Master Teacher Ellen Longcor then took a photo of everyone holding their statement. The black-and-white photo prints donated by Maple Leaf Printing Company now adorn the walls of the elementary school. The images are constant reminders of why they have a place in this world.

“That’s a big question that a lot of people struggled with, through this process, ‘What does it mean to matter?’ And, for me, it’s knowing I was put here for a purpose. And so being able to communicate that we were, we are all here for a purpose,” said Longcor. “And so even being able to explain that to everyone kind of even gives them a purpose.”

5th grade student Fancie Howey illustrated why this project was important.

“Because a lot of kids around the, around Indiana are very sad and depressed. And they don’t think they matter. So this was a good opportunity to show kids that they do matter,” said Howey.

In class, students also shared why their classmates matter to them, compliments that resonated with 5th-grader Rebeca Hernandez.

“It makes you sometimes can make you very happy. And if it makes you really happy, then that’s something you should be grateful for,” said Hernandez.

On Monday, students found their #WhyYouMatter photos on the school walls

“It has been one of the most incredible things I’ve been a part of, in my 16 years of education,” remarked Hicks.

Model Elementary parents will be able to view their children’s photos at the school next week, with Covid-19 precautions being taken.

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