It all started with giving seventh and eighth students at in Eureka a dollar each, and encouraging them to devise ways to raise relief money to donate to post-tornado recovery efforts in Joplin, MO.
Once entrepreneurial notions took hold, St. Mark's students raised $500 within one month's time to donate to seventh and eighth grade students from Martin Luther School in Joplin. It was a chance for a unique teaching moment, and St. Mark's Principal Sue Templeton said they are all tremendously proud of the variety of ways the students achieved such a notable goal. So they arranged to make the donation in-person, student-to-student and in a touching way.
Students and teachers from both schools met each other on Tuesday in at St. Mark's school to introduce themselves, share a pizza meal, play get-to-know-you games and to go to chapel together Wednesday morning.
Martin Luther School teacher Betty Lingenfelter for grades five through eight said seven students were able to make the trip, and more wanted to come but couldn't due to prior commitments.
Lingenfelter said portions of their school were destroyed during , with a tree going through her classroom. She said water and structural damages to the school cost about $500,000. "Our fifth and sixth grade students had to meet in trailers for a few months."
"Actually getting to meet the people involved in donating to our school is really nice," said Lingenfelter, who verified it was the first time she and the students were doing so.
Called the "OP-Jop Project," Templeton said about 14 eighth graders and 10 seventh graders participated.
Individual projects tried by students included activities such as a car wash, washing windows, selling artwork and going door-to-door to solicit cash donations from community residents. One student even applied her dollar toward creating and then selling a homemade version of "Blobber," which is a concoction similar to Silly Putty.
Templeton said some students banned together in teams. "Some found out being an entreprenuer is not their cup of tea," she said. "Others ate it up."
She said she believed OP-Jop also contained valuable lessons about career choices and the consequences of procrastination. "But no matter what, they got there different ways and did a great job."
Martin Lutheran School eighth grade student Austen Pogue, whose family lost their home in the tornado, said the trip to Eureka was exciting because he could meet new friends. He said it was especially good timing because his family is about three to four weeks away from moving into their new home.
Lingenfelter said she is thinking about doing the same $1 project with her students this school year. Templeton said she thought a Martin Luther School group who would "pay it forward" when it comes to good will sounds simply fabulous.