“High Point does charity projects because we have Eagle PRIDE. We learned that PRIDE is Personal Best, Respect, Integrity, Determination, and Empathy. We value giving back to our community members, and maybe good karma will come back to us.”— Snowden Y., age 11.

- By Norma Richman, Community Engagement at High Point Academy

Long before Valentine’s Day rolled around, High Point Academy's fifth grade classes strategized a plan to surprise residents of Ronald McDonald House Pasadena with sweet treats and toys—all carefully packed in personal tote bags. It all began with discussions on how to earn money. Soon the plan was hatched: in the weeks leading up to February 14th, students would do chores at home and sell baked goods at school. The result? The classes earned a whopping $1,479—almost $200 more than last year!

Ten-year-old Diana K. described the process: “So how we did it was my teacher told us how to raise money at home, like doing chores or having lemonade stands. We had to raise at least $10 each. We also had to have a few volunteers to bake things for the bake sale, like brownies, cookies, and donuts. Lastly, we had rice crispy bars for sale. Personally, it made me feel nice because we got to help people in a different way. Kids at RMH might not need that much food per se, but they might need things to enjoy with their families.”

The next step was to purchase everything a kid could want. Colored pencils, sharpeners, coloring books, and board games came to mind first. Then playing cards, puzzles, and story books were added to the list. Last but not least, cake mixes, baking pans, icing, and sprinkles topped off the collection.

A vital part of the process is to reflect on what community engagement means. High Point’s elementary curriculum includes fostering empathy for others, and fifth grade’s Ronald McDonald House project is no exception. Griffin C., 11, summed up the whole activity this way: “The point is to help the families at RMH because they have family members in the hospital. We raised money to pack the bags with things they might like. I hope it made them feel good.”