Service Learning is a program that has students work on projects that fit both into the subject curriculum and meet a community need. For example, last year there was a Language/Arts project in one of Mrs. Weber’s classes. They were studying the 1930’s and the Great Depression. For the project, they started to interview people down at the d’Youville Pavilion, who were in middle school at the time of the depression.

After they interviewed many, the students wrote a book comparing middle schoolers now to middle-schoolers then. Their service to the community was visiting the elderly and spending time talking with them. After the book was made, they presented the people with a copy. The whole project is student-centered.

The students come up with the project, they design the project, they put themselves into groups and design themselves tasks etc. The teachers are simply the facilitators of the whole thing. Mrs. Weber participates because “Learning is better when students are involved in authentic projects, it’s more meaningful that way.”

Our eighth grade French teacher, Mr. Corchesne, has participated for the past 5 years or so. He participates because “The activities give my students time to interact with individuals outside the school, but individuals who are a part of our community. It also gives them a connection between what they are learning and the real world.”

An example of a project in eighth grade French took place two years ago. The students produced a video about the Franco-American Center at St. Mary’s. “They studied the migration of French speaking citizens to Lewiston, the growth of the parish of St. Mary’s, and now the future development of the parish church now that it is a cultural center.” All in all, Service Learning Projects are a fun way to learn, we give back to our middle school and it makes us better people.

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