Fifth Graders Skip Party for Day of Service

Fifth graders in Frisco, celebrating the end of the school year, made a unique choice to celebrate their graduation from elementary school.

Instead of their typical end-of-year field trip to bowl and play arcade games, the 85 fifth grade students at Vaughn Elementary School asked if they could spend the day volunteering.

"We usually go to Main Event, but we decided that we were going to do a service project, and this is our service project," 11-year-old Isabel Tanner said.

Tanner said the idea was inspired, in part, by their teachers leading a discussion on Frisco ISD's "Profile of a Future-Ready Learner" -- a profile that included serving the community.

"We showed them the profile and just fostered the conversation, but they came up with this all on their own," teacher Amanda Gutierrez said. "It made you really proud as a teacher."

The school already had the buses lined up for the field trip. Teachers helped connect students to community members to make their day of service a reality.

Wednesday, the students visited police officers and firefighters, then spent time with residents at the Parkview Retirement Community in Frisco -- including Vaughn Elementary School's namesake.

"I was very impressed," Sammy Vaughn said.

"It's good for the older people to be with the young people, and the young people gain a lot from the wisdom of older people," Vaughn said.

Jake Lawrence, 11, agreed. He said he discovered he shared a love of reading with the residents of the retirement community.

He also explained why he was happy to skip arcade games for a day of service.

"Doing things for the community isn't that hard," Lawrence said. "Simple things like this can really make peoples day and make them feel a lot better."

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