The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Clinton

February 6, 2013

Diversity club aims to celebrate differences, fight bullying

CLINTON — Eagle Heights Elementary School students are embracing and celebrating their differences while fighting against bullying through the school's diversity club.

The club consists of fourth- and fifth-grade students who want to spread acceptance through their school and community.  

Eagle Heights counselor Lavina Engle started the club this year. Before embarking on the club creation, Engle found volumes of information on starting a diversity club for middle or high school students, but not much on the same concept for younger children. She wasn't fazed.

“I thought, ‘why don't I start a diversity club for elementary school? I have the resources,’” Engle said. “We can do that, we can do that for elementary school. I think it's easier because kids in elementary schools aren't as rigid in their thinking. They're not as afraid to ask questions about why people are different.”

Twenty-two students participate in the acceptance building organization that meets once a month.

“I wanted to join because the club shows that even though we're all different, we all have something in common,” 11-year-old fifth-grade student Ian Weltzin said during their monthly meeting on Tuesday.

The group right now is focused on creating an anti-bullying video as part of a districtwide push for all schools to create similar media.  

The diversity club students wrote three scripts depicting different instances of bullying during recess, lunch and at the bus stop.  

During their monthly meeting for February, students rotated turns as movie stars filming their skits. When they weren't filming, they were contemplating different instances where they had encountered bullying. Some students shared their experiences and words of wisdom with the group or with co-facilitator Margi Bengston. Altogether, they joined in a unified call to end bullying.  

“When we all stand together we can stop bullying,” the students chanted.  

Once the video is complete, it will be shared with the Clinton School Board. Engle also sees the video becoming a part of guidance lessons in school or new student orientation.

“Diversity club taught me a lot about bullying,” fifth-grader Bella Johnson, 10, said. “Now I feel I could stop bullying if I saw it.”

While they are focused on increasing awareness and tolerance within their own school and community, through previous projects they have delivered kindness and support to a Third World country.

The students hit the ground running in the beginning of the school year to make sure their landmark group had an  eventful year.

“They immediately wanted to have a bake sale,” Engle said.

First, though, they needed a cause to donate the proceeds of the bake sale. Engle said students chose their cause after reading the book "Beatrice's Goat," a story of an African girl whose family is momentously aided by a goat.  They decided to partner with Heifer International, a global nonprofit seeking to end hunger and poverty by providing livestock to those in need across the world. Students had their fund-raising goal set at $120, enough to buy one goat.  

The ambitious group had to make all of the goodies they wanted to sell at school. No homemade or store bought goods were allowed.

The bake sale raised $271, more than double what the club aimed to raise. With that money the industrious students were able to send two goats and a beehive through Heifer International.

“It was pretty cool to help and learn what's important to other cultures,” Jordan King, a 10-year-old fifth-grader said.

Engle was impressed not only with what the group accomplished, but also with the thought it gave the decision.

“It was Christmas time and my kids in my group were asking about whether it would be better to give a beehive or rabbits. What a different kind of cultural experience for them,” Engle said.

The club also participated in the community Peace Walk and plans to take a stand against racism with the YWCA this spring.  

“They are becoming advocates,” Engle said. “They are learning the most powerful way to stop bullying and that can make a huge difference.”

1
Text Only
Clinton
  • Interest in Ernst rises as his game does, too

    Brady Ernst is having a summer to remember.
    The rising River King senior is spending the summer playing for the Iowa Barnstormers traveling basketball team. This weekend they're playing in the Fab48 tournament in Las Vegas.

    July 26, 2014

  • PHOTOS: Clinton Junior Baseball 2014 Tournament Winners

    Clinton Junior Baseball 2014 Tournament Winners - Majors, Minors, Pee Wee

    July 25, 2014

  • JUST IN: Man shot in downtown Clinton

    A 32-year-old man was shot in downtown Clinton early today.

    July 25, 2014

  • YWCA offers lifeguard training

    CLINTON — The YWCA will offer lifeguard training in August.The course will be held from Aug. 4 to 10 at the YWCA. This 30-hour class will meet from 5 to 9 p.m. for four weeknights and from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday. A possibility of adding a class from 1

    July 25, 2014

  • Concurrent terms ordered in burglary case

    CLINTON — A Clinton man will serve four concurrent prison terms for his role in a string of 2012 burglaries.Assistant Clinton County Attorney Amanda Myers on Thursday requested the court to order Cory Mitchell, 38, to serve as much as 10 years in pri

    July 25, 2014

  • Whitecaps take away Clinton offense CLINTON — The Clinton LumberKings (13-19, 43-57) mustered only five hits as the visiting West Michigan Whitecaps (20-12, 61-41) shut down the hometown club at Ashford University Field.Whitecaps’ starter Jonathon Crawford (6-2) allowed only four men t

    July 25, 2014

  • 7-25-14 1B-Photo, Clinton track Clinton king of Brady DAVENPORT — It might not have been the blue oval, but Clinton track can place its mark at the top of the hill.The quartet of Barrion Collins, Marquis Robinson, Quavon Jones and Deshond Robinson won the high school boys division of the Battle Up Brady

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Habitat for Humanity hosts fundraiser

    CLINTON — Habitat for Humanity will host a fundraiser in Thomson, Illinois.The Clinton County group will showcase Laid Back Luau from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 8, at Heirloom Cafe in Thomson. The event will feature games, prizes, music train rides for

    July 25, 2014

  • 7-24-14 1B-Photo, Choice 2 Cinderella run ends DUBUQUE — The playoff run was fun while it lasted. Dubuque Hempstead, the No. 1-ranked baseball team in Class 4A entering Wednesday, ended Clinton’s chances at back-to-back appearances in the state tournament in Des Moines. The Mustangs knocked out t

    July 24, 2014 2 Photos

  • 7-24-14 Used Book Sale Prep Finding a (temporary) new home CLINTON — The harsh winter delivered a devastating loss to the Friends of the Library.Now, months later, the Friends have regrouped and are ready to showcase its used books — albeit in a new school building.For several years, the Friends hosted its a

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

Clinton Herald Photos


Browse, buy and submit pictures with our photo site.

Facebook