Eighth Graders Find the True Value of a Dollar

How can you help someone with just one dollar?  That’s what students at Coulwood Stem Academy were tasked with this week when their English teacher challenged them with an unusual assignment.

“I wanted to teach them that you don't need a lot of money in order to make someone's day better so with one dollar I wanted to give them the opportunity to change someone's day and make them happier.”

So she asked friends and family to each sponsor one student and give them a dollar bill.  Within 24 hours, there were enough sponsors to cover the entire eighth grade class.

“What in the world am I going to do with a dollar?” said eighth grader Haley Sihara.  That may have been the typical response from the student, but after some thinking, the task suddenly made sense.

 “I have many ideas but the one that sounded the best to me was “why not trade the dollar for pennies? said Sihara.  “Then I put a cool note with it.  This meant not only one person’s day was made but 100 people’s days were made.”

DeVizia had her students write letters to her sponsors describing what they did with their dollar.

“Students were leaving them in their neighbors’ mailboxes with notes that said, ‘Happy Holidays.  I care about you.’ We had students donate to different charities,” said DeVizia.

Tykhia Cruz-White’s dollar took her to a nearby nursing home where she visited an Alzheimer’s patient.  “I asked the nurse for a patient that rarely gets visitors,” she said.  “His name was Mr. Wilson.  We played chess well he kept forgetting the rules but I didn't care.”

With her money, Cruz-White bought her new friend an angel from the Family Dollar store, which he placed on his desk.  He then gave the eighth grader something in return, which she’ll never forget.

“When he left and he smiled, [it] made me feel good about myself,” said Cruz-White.

They say somethings money can’t but for others, all it takes is just a dollar and some very determined eighth graders.

“Our students are very loving and compassionate kids come in and give them the opportunity they will rise to it every single time,” said DeVizia.

Devizia says the assignment received such support that she plans to expand the idea to the entire middle school next year.