Williams Elementary School put their Gratitude Grant into action yesterday morning as they welcomed some special guests who joined them for breakfast. As part of the RSU 18 Lifestyle Team’s focus on Being Thankful, Gracious, and Giving, our schools submitted proposals for gratitude grants to support a particular project. WES set its sights on hosting a Breakfast with the Best.
The proposal, written by Principal Melanie Smith, read, “It is important that we help our students develop strong character traits by creating activities that allow them to be compassionate, respectful and responsible citizens. At Williams Elementary School, we would like to provide our students with the opportunity to express their gratitude to a person in their life that they are thankful for and/or that has made a difference in their life.”
Each student selected a person and wrote an essay explaining how that person was important in their lives. They worked on their essays over the course of several writing blocks. They drafted and redrafted, working on standards, receiving feedback and support as they developed a thoughtful, polished essay detailing why they are thankful for the person they invited. They also wrote formal invitations for the breakfast for their guests to RSVP to.
The school hosted 3 separate breakfasts, one for each grade level. On the day of the breakfasts, students came downstairs to greet their guests with a laminated copy of their essay to give to them as a keepsake. They then escorted them into the beautifully decorated gymnasium to share food and celebrate the difference that these special people have made in their lives.
Guests included many parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts, and uncles, but also coaches, teachers, formers teachers, and other staff members or mentors. Students opened each breakfast with a speech of welcome and the reading of a special poem. After everyone had the chance to enjoy some snacks, each student took a moment to share their essay with their person, leaving few dry eyes around the room.
“It was really a team effort to get this morning together,” said Principal Melanie Smith. “The kitchen staff organized and prepared the breakfasts, the custodial staff had the gym set up and ready to go for Wednesday morning’s events, many staff attended multiple breakfasts to help out, and several students volunteered to stay in during recess one day to make the paper flowers to decorate the tables. They also helped set up for the event, and clean up after the event took place.”
Thanks to everyone’s efforts the breakfast was a huge success. The over 200 guests were very moved by the students’ thoughtful pieces, the beautiful handmade decorations, the food and its presentation, and the event as a whole.
“This is a day that will be remembered by many for a long, long time,” said Principal Melanie Smith.