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Learning to Give
District programs take aim at teaching students the value of volunteering

CMHS IGNITION sponsor Mr. William Fitzgerald (rear), takes a photo with members of his group after volunteering at Talala Elementary in December. Pictured (l-r): Ciara Myhre, Angelina Bainbridge, Dejane Hulbert, Jamesa Adams, Precious Hankison, Milia McCall, Emily Millsap and Mia Dominik. Bottom Row (l-r): Jarquita Harris, Deonna Crosby and Dejza Duncan.

A recent study found that middle and high school students who engaged in quality service-learning programs showed increases in measures of personal and social responsibility, communications and sense of educational competence. Students at Crete-Monee Middle and High Schools are doing just that.
Crete-Monee High School’s IGNITION Program, an innovative transition program started in 2013 brings together the incoming freshmen class, upperclassmen, faculty and staff. The Ignition Program has been proven effective across the country, decreasing dropouts and habitual truancy, and increasing school spirit. Five years later, CMHS administration continues to work tirelessly to ensure that Ignition helps boost student achievement and involvement in school organizations.

This past holiday season, the IGNITION Program members visited the Early Learning Center and Talala Elementary School’s WinterFest to spread holiday cheer to our younger students and assist with a number of engaging interactive games in classrooms and throughout the building. “These students were amazing as they assisted our teachers and were invaluable with helping them to facilitate the games throughout the day,” said Principal Michelle Johnson. The CMHS IGNITION students engaged students in fun winter games such as a Snowball Toss, Snowman Relay, Pin the Nose on the Reindeer, as well as arts and crafts such as Marshmallow Building Towers, Pass the Holiday Gift and Candy Cane Walk. One additional highlight of the day for Talala students was the CMHS IGNITION student’s distribution of hot cocoa to each class and 300 frozen custard desserts donated by Ms. Katie Smith, owner of Culver’s Restaurants in Monee and Crete, Illinois.

The WinterFest was evidence of the important outcomes that result from service-learning and its impact on school communities. There were approximately 35 community and parent volunteers that worked to create the awesome day. “We are so grateful for community members like Mrs. Tammy Burnham and The Crete Woman’s Club,” Principal Johnson added.

IGNITION students also volunteered at the ELC helping serve breakfast, play games and clean up. Santa and Mrs. Claus (District staff Gunther Bauman and Linda Zurek) shared a smile with the group that included: Maria Telle, Joshua Tomas, Tyren Griffin, Jalyssa Paredes, Brooke Thompson, Tyrone Scruggs, Jason Walters, Brianna Mitchell, Danielle Despain, Alexis Cannon, and Adrianna Ramirez (kneeling).

"I believe it's important that we build a sense of community not only in the high school but throughout the district. It is our goal that students grow up seeing the IGNITION Program students as positive role models throughout the U," said IGNITION sponsor Mr. William Fitzgerald.
The students in the IGNITION Program serve as mentors for the CMHS freshman class every other week. Last year, the group began reaching out to schools around the district at the students’ request.

Through clubs and extracurricular activities, some IGNITION members had the benefit of working with elementary schools and thought it was important that all students receive the benefit of their leadership. “I think this was a fantastic event and my students were excited and honored to be a part of something so rewarding for everyone involved. We have talked to one of the board members there as well as the staff at the ELC and are working towards volunteering at a different school each month," Mr. Fitzgerald added.

"I am truly blessed and proud of these students and their commitment. We are willing and seeking more opportunities to volunteer within our district and community,” he said.

Crete-Monee Middle School National Junior Honor Society
SUPPORT FOR ELDERS: Members of the Crete-Monee Middle School National Junior Honor Society kicked off their winter break on December 21 by bringing joy to the residents of St. James Manor in Crete. The following students gave the gifts of listening and sharing stories (l-r): Mariam Al-Faruqi, Naomi Lewis, Meagan Bruns, Jada Cotledge, Kelcee Berkley, Alysia Davis, Alexis Walker, Micaiah Brown, Ireland Morgan, Maame Afua Poku, Jessica Fernandez, Arie Hofman, and Morgan Beamon.

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Crete-Monee School District 201-U 1500 Sangamon Street, Crete, IL 60417 Phone: 708-367-8300 Fax: 708-672-2698