Respect & Empathy: Midway Students Learn Beyond the Classroom

by Delaney Sanders, PR Senior

The KC Club at Speegleville Elementary

Often times, the focus of education is confined to classroom curriculum or standardized testing courses. But within the walls of Midway campuses, our teachers are working tirelessly to educate students on subjects besides those learned about in textbooks, subjects that will become constants throughout the rest of their lives.

Respect and empathy are two themes in these learnings, and have been practiced in Midway classrooms through a variety of different approaches led by both teachers and students.

At Speegleville Elementary, 12 fourth grade students selected by both peers and teachers have formed the KC, or Kindness and Compassion Club. The KC Club practices empathy by assisting with school-wide service projects, such as creating hygiene kits for homeless individuals around the community.

“We definitely want students to become kinder and more compassionate,” explained Speegelville principal Christopher Eberlein. “We want them to have a mindset of ‘how can I help others and make a difference in my world.’”

At Midway Middle School, physical education classes have become a way for students to practice the skill of empathy and the learn the value of connecting with others. Through the Partner P.E. program special education and general education students are paired, and the students work together through the different activities.

“As they work together they see what people go through,” said Kyna Saul, a Partner P.E. teacher. “They’re able to see the world from a different perspective which makes them have compassion for other kids.”

At the high school level, students are continuing to practice this skill through recognizing the needs of others. The PALs, or peer assistance & leadership program, arranged a donation drive this fall to raise funds to purchase toys for children around the community. These toys were then given to the McLennan County CPS Office, who were able to give each child around $150 worth of gifts.

The value of respect is being practiced throughout our campuses as well, through opportunities designed for students to extend their appreciation to those who have paved the way for our students’ success.

This past spring, a group of seniors from Midway High School traveled around the community to show their respect to our local Blue Card Program Members. The Blue Card Program is a community engagement program for Midway ISD residents who are senior citizens (65 years or older), and the Midway students showed their appreciation by hand-delivering copies of the Blue Card Newsletter to their front doors. As evidenced through their reactions in this video, the Blue Card Members were delighted by the surprise and glad to meet the young faces in their community.

Inside the high school, the AV Production classes and the Speech classes teamed up to create a video aimed to express the students’ respect and appreciation for their teachers. This video montage was published during Teacher Appreciation Week, where Midway students organized several events to show their gratitude for educators at Midway ISD.

Lastly, Midway students had the opportunity to practice respect at its fullest capacity this past week through the welcoming home of Sgt. Lacey Poltortskiy. Poltortskiy, who had returned home early after a deployment in Kuwait, surprised her daughter JaiceyBelle at Midway Middle School and son Daxton at Hewitt Elementary School with emotional reunions after being apart for almost nine months. Through these reunions, students and teachers were able to see first-hand the sacrifice made by those defending our country, and express just a small token of gratitude for Poltorskiy’s service.

Whether it be within campus walls or throughout the Midway community, our students are practicing both respect and empathy on a daily basis. Our hope is that these skills stay forever embedded within them, and serve as a foundation for the remainder of their lives, and certainly the remainder of their time as a Midway Panther.