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Parkway Middle School Focuses On Compassion
By: PHS Junior Loren Stukey

Feb Black and Gold

Character education is an important part of Parkway Middle School. Each month, the students and staff focus on one character word. Throughout the month students participate in activities that reinforce that character word both inside the classroom as well as in the community. The character word for December was compassion. This word was reinforced by having students watch the movie "Wonder," sponsor a compassion tree, and hold a canned food drive.  
All middle school students were invited to watch "Wonder" at Chakeres Theater in Celina. The movie "Wonder" has a clear and positive message. The film centers around the main character Auggie, a young boy with a genetic facial difference. The theme of the movie encourages students not to focus on what a person looks like, but to choose kindness and appreciate each person for who they are. “Wonder” also taught Parkway Middle School students about the concepts of family relationships, friendship, overcoming challenges, as well as the negative effects of bullying, and betrayal. This film was able to bring entertainment and education together focusing on many of the challenges today’s teenagers face. Following the movie, students participated in breakout sessions created by Parkway's Media Specialist, Mr. Falk. The breakout sessions used scenes and topics from the movie to teach core subjects such as language arts, social studies, science, and fine arts. The breakouts included puzzles and games about identifying themes and characters along with five to six other activities. The students were able to access the activities and lessons on their own laptops and work at their own pace.  
The compassion tree was a tree with ornaments that was on display in the middle school office. Students had the opportunity to take ornaments from the tree and turn it into their homeroom teachers with $6 to cover the cost of a ticket to see “Wonder” for a classmate who was unable to afford a ticket. The additional money that was not needed for the "Wonder" tickets was given to the Rockford food pantry along with donated food items. Through the generosity of the middle school’s students and their families,  $500 and 1,255 cans were donated to the food pantry.   

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