Julie Clifton (left) and Nikki Hegerich (right) take a moment to pose for a short out of their busy day. In their recent work, both teachers have donated prizes for fundraising events, supplies for community service projects, and materials to create the soaps, scrubs and candles.
"It is personally fulfilling to see the moment when they realize the positive impact they can have on others in less fortunate situations"
For 8th grade science teacher Nikki Hegerich and 7th grade language arts teacher Julie Clifton, a day at work consists of more than just teaching middle school students. They are working to promote the spirit of community both inside and outside the middle school. Hegerich and Clifton are advisors of both the Community Service Club and the Aromatherapy and Wellness Club at the middle school. The Community Service Club encourages volunteering and service in our community.
Throughout the school year, these two teachers are working on an assortment of projects to provide assistance to various charity organizations. They also work to organize opportunities for groups of students to volunteer their time outside of school.
"It is inspiring to see middle school students get excited about helping people in the community. It is personally fulfilling to see the moment when they realize the positive impact they can have on others in less fortunate situations,” said Julie Clifton.
The community service club is currently making superhero capes for patients at Children’s Hospital. They started last year before quarantine, and the club already has new members excited about continuing the project. Recently, they organized the “Hats for Heroes” fundraiser at the middle school, which raised $8000 districtwide. Another goal for this school year is to continue the tradition of creating holiday cards for various occasions to send to troops overseas and nursing homes. From there, other current events will inspire them to help the community where they can.
“The most important part of this club is to make 7th and 8th graders aware of their civic responsibilities beyond making charitable contributions. We discuss that taking time to help people in need is just as important as making a donation. The hope is what they learn by taking part in the committee will stay with them beyond the middle school years,” said Hegerich. When students meet for the Aromatherapy and Wellness club, they will spend time interacting with one another while being engaged in creating a variety of soaps, scrubs, and candles to help with things like becoming more energized and reducing stress. Ms. Hegerich and Mrs. Clifton also help the members to understand the science and health benefits behind the natural ingredients and the importance of self-care.
“The aromatherapy club is a relaxing and therapeutic way to start the day for both the students and ourselves. It is also an alternative way to interact with the students instead of the usual academic environment. We enjoy the unstructured time to bond with students in a creative environment,” said both Clifton and Hegerich.