Valentine's Day is considered to be a day of showing love and compassion. This year this holiday fell near a special day for the fifth-grade students at Brandywine Heights Area Intermediate School, the 1,000 day of their school career on Jan. 28.
While many schools celebrate the 100th day of the school year, Brandywine’s 5th graders combine all of their school days since kindergarten to celebrate their 1,000 day of school.
To celebrate this day, Brandywine 5th grade teacher Lyndsay Levengood presented the idea for students to send at least 1,000 Valentines to people in the community as well as children’s hospitals. They were very excited, she said.
“My goal was to build empathy within the classroom, to build empathy by showing diversity,” said Levengood. “We chose the kids at the children’s hospitals so we can fill their buckets like we fill ours.”
The two hospitals selected were the Ronald Mcdonald House in Hershey and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia where the class donated items because due to health concerns they don't accept handmade gifts. The Lehigh Valley Hospital also received Valentines.
With such a high goal Levengood sought help from the community including the Scouts, preschool class, fourth-grade class, and the middle and elementary school students. The students managed to exceed their goal with about 1,500 Valentines.
Levengood’s class has a high school student, Olivia Radcliffe, who comes and works with the students on Tuesdays. Her younger cousin Jackson Radcliffe was diagnosed with cancer and is currently receiving treatment at CHOP. The class made him, “A super special Valentine” consisting of a superhero mask and cape and a “super” Valentine’s Day card.
“It shows the kid’s compassion and attempt to be understanding of someone else’s life,” Olivia said.
The students were very passionate about this act of kindness.
Brady Leib, a fifth grade student in Levengood’s class, when explaining why he enjoyed the process said, “The satisfaction of doing something nice for someone, and not getting anything back from it.”
After you’ve done a card you felt good because you knew someone was going to get that card and feel good that day,” said Olivia Potteiger.