Students Out and About on Middle School Day of Service
Middle School students served across Philadelphia at eight sites on the Day of Service on April 21. Students served food, sorted clothing, read to youngsters and cleared invasive species, among other projects, during the day. The sixth grade remained on campus to focus on their yearlong study of food insecurity.
The annual Darryl J. Ford Day of Service is named in honor of current head of school and former director of Middle School, Darryl J. Ford. Ford opened the day alongside PC junior Meredith Bernstein. Bernstein spoke about her commitment to service, which began in Lower School. Though Bernstein centers her time at Face to Face, "there are endless ways you can serve your community," she said.
Liam La Barge and Liliana Gartanutti (pictured, right) and other eighth grade classmates served at the Whosoever Gospel Mission in Germantown. "We are sorting clothes for the thrift shop, which provides one-third of the organization's income," La Barge said. A group of students pulled clothes from bags and determined which items were saleable, and then passed them on Gartanutti. "I take all the clothes decided wearable and I put them on a hanger," Gartanutti said. "I have the final say of what can be sold."
Gartanutti related the project at Whosoever to what she has been learning in civics class. "We are learning how a bill is passed. If you compare the clothes to a bill, they have to pass the House and the Senate, and I am like the president. I get to decide if the clothes are wearable, like a president signs a bill or vetoes it," she said.
"We can learn about issues like homelessness, but it's another thing to meet and talk to people who have gone through it," La Barge said. "And, it's good to know you've done some good in the world."
Sixth grade has focused on food insecurity throughout the year, led by social studies teacher Jim Pilkington. They spent the morning doing intensive design-thinking on how to solve issues of food insecurity, part of an ongoing project that will culminate in the Sixth Grade Capstone. "This is a messy process with a really difficult topic," Pilkington told students at the end of the day's work. "We took this huge idea of food insecurity, broke it down, broke it down some more, and now we have some really concrete ideas."
"I did like it because the whole year is about food insecurity, like food stamps," Kayla Pham said about the day's project," and today we were able to think about larger issues." Pham and her classmates studied the food insecure nations of Iraq, China, India and Egypt in the afternoon, connecting the project to the social studies curriculum.
Middle School served at Norris Square, Logan Hope School, Rittenhouse Town, SHARE, Chamounix Stables, Smith Playground and DePaul House. See photos.