FYS Students Use Service-Learning Project to Make a Difference

FYS Students Use Service-Learning Project to Make a Difference

Holly Vincent
Tuesday, April 23, 2019 12:00 AM

CLEVELAND, Tenn. – Dual enrollment students in Cleveland State Community College’s First Year Seminar (FYS) class at Cleveland High School are making a difference in their classmates’ lives through their service-learning project. The students decided to raise money to help their special needs classmates attend the Cleveland High School Prom on May 4 at the Museum Center at 5ive Points.

“I am very proud of what these students decided to do for this special project,” stated FYS Instructor Jason Sewell. “They really wanted to do something that would make a difference and the thought, effort and sincerity they have displayed has been awesome to witness!”

In the past, some special needs students have attended the proms, but the FYS students wanted to significantly increase the participation this year by making these students feel more welcome. The FYS students were divided into groups according to the project needs. Some of these included fundraising, marketing and promotions, as well as a recognition group responsible for surveying the special needs students to find out what type of award they would like to receive during the prom.  

The fundraising committee sponsored a Students vs. Teachers Dodgeball Game with a $1 entry fee raising $511.00, but they didn’t stop there. They also set up a Go Fund Me account raising an additional $274 for a total of $785.00. In addition to special tiaras and crowns, the money will also help with the cost of corsages and boutonnieres, special awards during the prom, etc. Any additional funding will go toward any teaching / learning equipment and classroom material needs for the special education classes.  

FYS students also reached out to the Town Squire in Cleveland who agreed to donate some tuxedos, as well as the Prom Shop at Christ Community Church in Athens who donated prom dresses for the cause. Students were asked their favorite colors in hopes of finding dresses according to their preferences.

CHS Student Alexia Hickey stated, “We got in touch with Christ Community Church. Once she heard what we were trying to do, she told us they had a lot of dresses that people donate after their prom, and we could come and get them free of charge. Anything we needed! She was so sweet and let us have whatever we needed.”

In order to get the word out about the event, the students implemented many forms of communication—sending emails to the parents and creating flyers to send home with the students. They also attended two parent / teacher meetings to share information about the prom project with parents in attendance to encourage them to let their special needs students participate.

FYS Student Lane Harris stated, “We have had a lot of good feedback, both from students and teachers. Certain teachers have donated money, and a lot of people have supported what we are doing. They love the idea that we are willing to put in the effort to have them come to our prom and be recognized. We don’t want them to just come to the prom, but feel welcome there.”

Tekeya Smith said, “I learned a lot about myself from this project. I want to give back to others, not because they are special, but because they are human just like everyone else—they are my classmates.”

For additional information or to make a donation to the FYS project, contact Alexa Hickey at ahicke01@clevelandschools.org.

Photo Cutline: Dual enrollment students in Cleveland State’s First Year Seminar class at Cleveland High School raised money to help their special needs classmates attend the CHS Prom at the Museum Center at 5ive Points on May 4.


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