CVMS students celebrate ACE projects

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Neighbors | Abby Slanker.Canfield Village Middle School students, from left, Quinton Miller, Maddie McCartney and Kenzie Koenig, celebrated their Seventh Grade Lost and Found Project at the school’s second annual ACE celebration event on May 11.

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Neighbors | Abby Slanker.Canfield Village Middle School students, from left, Tristin Wendt, Riley Kinkade, Jackie Kinnick and Tanya PaiDhungat were recognized at the school’s second annual ACE celebration event for working with Ironwoods Nursing Home on their Friend Finder Project on May 11.

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Neighbors | Abby Slanker.Canfield Village Middle School teacher and Ambitious Citizens for Empathy (ACE) Project co-developer Erica Putro recognized the program’s mentors at the second annual ACE celebration event.

By ABBY SLANKER

neighbors@vindy.com

Students who participated in Canfield Village Middle School’s Ambitious Citizens for Empathy (ACE) Project, an extension of Gifted Services, celebrated their accomplishments with a celebration for family and friends on May 11. The students spent the school year analyzing their strengths to create a personal profile which was used to design a method for contributing to some aspect of the community.

The 83 students who participated managed 17 projects while working in teams. Students were asked to identify strengths which they possessed which could be used to do some good for others. Projects proposals were written, and projects were completed during March and April.

The projects included a food drive for the Second Harvest Food Bank, raising money for Angels for Animals, a book drive for Akron Children’s Hospital, raising money for a new trophy case at the school, teacher gift baskets, recycling, study skills web sites, returning lost and found items, Helping Hands, Friend Finders and Making Kids Count.

Several of the projects raised hundreds of dollars and impacted and helped in a variety of ways many people in the community and the surrounding area. The projects were on display during the celebration for parents and families to view.

CVMS teachers Erica Putro and Dominique Tozzi spearheaded the project. Putro welcomed family and friends to the celebration.

“Welcome to our second annual ACE celebration event. The kids have lots to show you for all their time and effort. They will share their learning experiences they have had and they will also answer questions about their projects. We have 17 projects on display. We welcome you to please take time to look at as many projects as you can,” Putro said.

After the guests had a chance to view the projects, Putro explained more of the process the students went through to complete their projects.

“We started with self assessment. The students set goals for themselves. Then there was the project application based on what they wanted to do and which project they were interested in and they applied to receive that project, just like a job application. Then came the team process. There was collaboration of classmates and mentors, which were assigned to each team. Then there was self-evaluation, which required internal reflection. This was to really be sure there was real learning going on. It took patience. It made the students able to classify what is important and what isn’t and do the most important first. I am so proud of these students and their families should be too,” Putro said.

Tozzi then took the stage and shared Putro’s sentiments and also broke down ACE by the numbers.

“I am overwhelmed right now. I am so proud of each and every one of you. We had one school year, two teachers, 12 mentors, 17 teams, 83 students, $1,208.84, 500 total work hours, with 243 outside hours donated, and six outside organizations helped, with CVMS making it seven. We have 83 wonderful, warm, compassionate hearts that made all the other numbers possible. So, now we will show a video in which you can hear in the students’ own words what they are most proud of and one word which describes their experience,” Tozzi said.

A video featuring the students post-project was played for the audience. In the video, students used such words as exciting, collaborative, cooperation, accomplished, challenging, kindness, spectacular, educational, helpful, teamwork, inspiring, interesting, proud and fun to describe their ACE experience.

Putro then introduced and recognized the 12 mentors who helped the students along the way.

“I would like to give a big thank you to all our mentors. We are so grateful for their time. They would talk the students through their projects and they had to learn how to have those conversations. The students needed their help to get things done. They donated their time, effort, expertise and encouragement. We couldn’t have done it without them,” Putro said.

Putro then called each mentor to the front of the gym and gave them a small token of appreciation.

Putro gave a special thanks to parents and families.

“A special thanks goes to the parents and families. Thank you for rolling with us as we tried this and as we changed it up this year. Your support and generosity means the world to us because it helped the kids accomplish what they accomplished,” Putro said.

Putro also showed her appreciation for the PTO and CVMS administration.

“To the PTO, you have been so supportive. I am so impressed with everything you have done, especially recruiting people to help. We are incredibly grateful. Thank you, PTO. And to our administration, Mr. Rubin and Mr. Flood, I can’t say enough as a professional to be able to work for people who you come to with an idea to be able to be heard. Especially with something this big, and this messy, and experimental. You recognized that this was worthwhile learning,” Putro said.

Putro also praised the students.

“In some cases there were challenging, frustrating moments, but you worked through them. We really do appreciate you and we are so proud of you putting your hearts into these projects. I couldn‘t be prouder of you than I am right now. I hope you have good memories and you learned a lot of things which you will keep with you. This is just the beginning. You have a lot to draw on with everything you brought to the table. You have a big future ahead of you. Thank you,” Putro said.

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