Fifth Graders Team Up to Revamp Community Park

MITCHELL, S.D. – Today is Veronica’s birthday, and it’s also Joclyn’s birthday.

However, everyday is a celebrating when you walk into Mrs. Becker’s classroom at Gertie Belle Rogers Elementary in Mitchell.

It’s Molly Becker’s first year teaching, and she wanted to do something special so that she would remember her first class forever.

“It makes me excited to see someday you know, some kid in here might be the mayor of Mitchell,” said Becker. “Some student might go on and do something big.”

She asked her students to brainstorm different community projects they could work on as a team to make Mitchell a little brighter. The class voted to give a local park some TLC.

The students divide and conquer in their five committees.

“It’s teaching them those skills that you know, we can’t do everything right away,” said Becker. “We have to plan.”

“It’s just a lot more fun when she helps us with it,” said Cooper, a student.

For example, Jill is on the gardening committee because she likes flowers.

”I like how they look and how they smell and their colors,” said Jill, a student. “I like everything about them.”

“The most funnest part about the gardening group is making all the people smile,” said Noelani, a student.

Becker says this class project is teaching her twenty students skills for the real world, something she understands as someone new to a “grown up” job herself.

“Being young, it’s scary, and you stepping out of the comfort zone is hard but I’m really glad did, and to see where these students are taking this learning is really cool,” said Becker.

The class is preparing to pitch their final design plans to the Mitchell City Council on Friday. They are hosting a fundraiser that the students themselves planned at Pizza Ranch on Monday from 5 to 8 P.M. in Mitchell.

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