A Day of Service

An Upper School contingent volunteered at Harriet Tubman Elementary School

On a recent Saturday a group of about 40 Sidwell Friends students, faculty, and parents spent the morning sorting books, cleaning hallways, painting a large-scale mural, and tending gardens at Harriet Tubman Elementary School. Located in Columbia Heights, Harriet Tubman serves children with high needs. About 98 percent of students receive free or reduced school lunch.

Harriet Tubman’s Principal Amanda Delabar explained that the school offers a “school-plus experience,” meaning they strive to provide students with experiences outside of the classroom, such as the gardening program. The principal said that “our mission is to empower kids with the academic and social skills to question, challenge, and change the world.”

Ms. Delabar described how meaningful the donations and community service from another school were to the Tubman community. “Sidwell is our first school to help. It is so rare and tremendously valuable to completing projects. I hope Sidwell students come away from this experience wanting to find the intersection of their passion and helping people.”

Students and parents tallied 441 books and sorted them across grade level. The books covered all genres and included about 50 brand-new books from Politics and Prose. One 11th grader, while sorting books, said that he chose to help because “it was important to provide students with books and other resources so they have the opportunity to grow up and be what they want to be in life”.

While many tended to the gardens, a group of Sidwell Friends students painted an extensive mural designed by Eden Taff ’19. Per Eden, the mural is intended to depict a theoretical world that facilitates uninhibited enjoyment of learning. She explained, “I am a firm believer that art enhances education.”

Another 11th grader said that she “really enjoyed painting because it brought people together, and it was fun to interact with the kids.”

This article was written by Jacob Walters ’19.

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