Valentine’s Day is going to be extra sweet on the campus of Bagdad Middle and High School this year. The school’s Peer Assistance and Leadership (PAL) program has asked teachers and staff to write down one thing about each of their students and colleagues that makes that person special. On Feb. 14, PAL members will deliver those hand-written messages with a card that says “Bee My PAL” along with a bee keychain/bag tag to every student, teacher and staff member.
The morale-boosting project is one of several done every year by PAL, a program that began nationally more than 40 years ago to help young people use their potential to make a difference in their lives, schools and communities. Jennifer Bonner, a teacher at the school, says this year’s PAL cohort is the biggest ever, with 26 high school students, plus another 20 in the 3rd through 6th grades (known as Little PALs) who are being mentored by the high schoolers.
So far this year, they have delivered 500 hand-written holiday cards to the troops, volunteered in Pre-K through 4th-grade classes for an hour a week, and held a holiday Root Deer Gram sale. (In case you are wondering, a root deer is a bottle of root beer decorated to look like Rudolph.) More than 2000 bottles were sold and at the end of the semester, Santa and Mrs. Claus delivered the root deers, candy grams, and candy canes to every student on campus.
During the first semester, the students also focused on leadership skills, character building and relationships so that they will be a strong team this semester to carry out numerous projects. In addition to the Valentine’s Day event, the group is also creating “Blessing Bags” with necessities and comfort items for residents of a local nursing home. The students will deliver the bags in person so that they can share lunch and play games with the resident (Covid restrictions permitting).
They’ll also hold their 6th Annual Penny Wars, a fundraiser that has become an annual tradition with all proceeds donated to the Wounded Warrior Project, as well as creating gift baskets for teachers and staff, to give a little boost and thank them for all they do for Bagdad kids. For more information about the Bagdad PTO PAL program, email firstname.lastname@example.org.