Lights for a good cause

Published 10:01 pm Friday, December 21, 2018

What can a school courtyard and thousands of Christmas lights teach Suffolk children about hard work, teamwork, community and school spirit?

As it turns out, a lot.

Students at Booker T. Washington Elementary School recently invested time into making their school’s courtyard into a beautiful winter wonderland. Lights and inflatables made the entire courtyard pop with illumination and color, ranging from the red of Santa’s coat and cherry nose to the green of the Grinch.


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It may seem like a frivolous pastime, but as with all things in education, there was a purpose.

Students learned about planning and teamwork as they worked together to decorate their assigned section of the courtyard garden.

The school was packed on Wednesday evening with parents visiting their children’s school, seeing their children’s teacher and getting the chance to interact with their children at school and see a project they helped achieve. Community members who don’t have a child at Booker T. Washington even got to visit and see what a remarkable job was done by their local students.

The students saw their parents and community members enjoying and invested in what they had done, and that sends a strong message to the young people that what they do at school matters.

The decorations used for the event have been donated by community members and purchased by teachers at thrift stores, garage sales and after-Christmas sales to make sure there is enough to light up the entire garden with Christmas cheer.

Title I reading specialist Jenny Owens spearheads the project, and this is the fourth year of the Garden of Lights. She works hard all year long to make it come together.

We appreciate all that went into this project and all those who made it a success.