Love For Learning For Life

Block Number: 132

By Ginger Todd


The weather may have been overcast Thursday June 6th, but student spirits at Old Fort Elementary School were filled with excitement as the quilt block they had sponsored was positioned over the front entrance of their school building. To purchase the block the students participated in a “loose change” contest, the class collecting the largest amount to win a special prize. That prize was the privilege of their teacher riding in a wheel barrow down the street in front of the school (128 Mauney Avenue), ushered by an Old Fort Police patrol car complete with siren and flashing blue lights.

The block’s name, Love For Learning For Life, is from a prior slogan of the school and incorporates the school’s mission and concept, while adopting a new motto of “educating and caring for children and their families”. Terry Wilson, who attended Old Fort Elementary school from the first grade in 1958 and later became a teacher there, was the brain storm for the project. With the wide diversity of backgrounds in the school population the importance of involving families in the children’s education is important and efforts are being made to minister to them along with the students. His hope is that the students gained a “lasting moment” and a feeling of “we did it” by all coming together to reach their accomplishment and make a meaningful gift to the community.

The elementary school’s Junior Beta Club, a national educational youth organization committed to promoting academic achievement and preparing young people as leaders for tomorrow, sponsored the quilt block drive. The students managed all the collections and calculations for each class under the leadership of the Beta Club, providing them with additional hands-on financial education.

The students raised not only enough to purchase a quilt block, but enough to make a donation to local animal rights groups. Morgan Vess, President of the Beta Club, presented a check to Rusty’s Legacy (rescue for dogs from the McDowell Animal Shelter) and Healing Hearts (small animal rescue for orphaned or injured wildlife). Old Fort Elementary has its own rescued dog used by Student Counselor Glenda Glen and tail wagging “Astro” is a friendly greeter at the main office, serving as a fine therapy dog.

Barbara Bright, the fifth grade teacher whose class gathered the most change towards the purchase of the block, is a former student of the school herself, as well as having served as a bus driver and teacher’s assistant. The winning class was recognized on the front steps of the school and Principal Carolyn Hunter was presented with the Certificate of Authenticity by Quilt Trail Chairwoman Jill Lucas. The event was a fun way to end her first year as a teacher and she carried her pet dog with her as Physical Education teacher Jeff Tilson pushed her down the street. She threw out candy and trinkets to the entire student body lined on both sides of Mauney Road as they cheered and waved American flags, pointing up to the quilt block they had hosted. It was apparent that their achievement in raising funds and hosting the Quilt Block would be a lasting moment in their school memories.

Love For Learning For Life is a 4 x 4 foot block is set on the diamond and brightens up the school entrance. Installed by volunteers Mike Lucas, Jack Raker and Alan Scholl the block depicts a school house with children outside and the well known Old Fort Arrowhead monument is included. A rainbow of colors in the background represents the beautiful dawns and sunsets our wonderful mountains provide us. The project gave the students a sense of community pride and served to create a sense of identity as each class participated.

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