ALERTS:
Search:
Skip Navigation LinksCherry Creek School District > District News > Class project teaches empathy, service
Print this page

Class project teaches empathy, service

​​499 Red Friday shirts.jpg
Dakota Valley Elementary student Vinny Poitra wears a R.E.D. shirt every Friday, and it got his teacher’s attention.

“Vinny shared with me that R.E.D. stands for Remember Everyone Deployed,” explained fourth-grade teacher Jeff Heroux. “He wears the shirt every Friday to keep his brother in his thoughts.”

Vinny’s brother, Joseph Calomino, is a United States Marine who is currently serving in the Middle East.

 


“Vinny really looks up to his older brother and having him deployed is hard,” Heroux said.

So Heroux asked Vinny to help him with a class project on empathy, which is defined as “the psychological identification with or vicarious experiencing of the feelings, thoughts, or attitudes of another.”

“As a class, we are talking about what it would be like to have a family member deployed,” Heroux said. “Vinny is always happy to share his feelings and updates about his brother.”

Wall display of Marine buddiesHeroux said his students have become so invested in the empathy project, they decided to expand it by filling care packages for Joseph Calomino and 20 other Marines in his unit. With some help from Vinny’s mom, Jen Borland, who is part of a Marine moms support group on Facebook, every student in Vinny’s class was paired with a particular Marine.

“I thought it would be better for the kids to see who they were sending a package to, to make it a little more personal,” Borland said. “The students’ pictures are in the packages too, so the Marines can see someone who’s thinking about them. It’s pretty cool.”

Filling care packagesSo on Friday, Nov. 16, wearing R.E.D. shirts donated to the class by Jen Borland, Vinny and his classmates filled and decorated the care packages. Several students’ parents came in to help and there was an air of excitement as the students selected a variety of items to send to their Marine. There were cans of ravioli, healthy snacks and sweet treats, which the Marines miss during lengthy deployments. There were also personal care items, including toothbrushes, toothpaste, razors, shaving cream and cough drops.

Care package with letterThe students packed and repacked, trying to fit as many goodies as possible into each box. Then they added a personal letter to their Marine and decorated the outside of the box, often with stars and stripes and other patriotic designs.

Vinny and his mother are grateful for the students’ support of the troops, and Jeff Heroux is thankful Vinny and his family were willing to share their experience as part of the empathy project.

“Vinny has demonstrated an incredible passion for his brother’s service and for all veterans and active duty servicemen and women,” Heroux said. “He has helped our class learn some very valuable lessons.”

Posted 11/19/2018 1:43 PM
Copyright © Cherry Creek School District #5, 4700 S. Yosemite Street, Greenwood Village, CO 80111 | 303-773-1184
Cherry Creek School District No. 5 does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability in admission to its programs, services or activities, in access to them, in treatment of individuals, or in any aspect of their operations. The lack of English language skills shall not be a barrier to admission or participation in the district’s activities and programs. The Cherry Creek School District No. 5 also does not discriminate in its hiring or employment practices. This notice is provided as required by Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. Questions, complaints, or requests for additional information regarding these laws may be forwarded to the designated compliance officer: District Compliance Officer or directly to the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights, Region VIII, Federal Office Building 1244 North Speer Blvd., Suite #310, Denver, CO 80204.

You are now leaving the Cherry Creek School District (CCSD) portal. Please note that CCSD does not control nor can it guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness, completeness, or appropriateness of any content contained on web sites and/or pages outside of the official CCSD portal. The information or opinions contained on these web sites and/or pages do not necessarily represent the views of the CCSD.

With access to the internet comes the availability of material that may not be of educational value or appropriate for students. While at school, CCSD has taken precautions to restrict access to inappropriate or harmful web sites. However, on the internet it is impossible to control all materials and limit all access to information that has no educational value. CCSD firmly believes that the valuable information and the interaction available on the internet far outweigh the possibility that users may procure material that is not consistent with the educational goals of CCSD.