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NewsDepth A+: Giles-Sweet Student Council

Recently we got a letter from Gemma, a fifth grader at Gilles-Sweet Elementary School in Fairview Park. She told us about all of the great work the student council has done over the past year or so and we decided that we needed to get out there and meet her. Our conversation with Gemma convinced us that this week’s A+ Award was going to the Student Council at Gilles-Sweet! Her teacher, Mrs. Rushnok, who is a huge NewsHound fan, told us this was the best decision we made all year!

Gemma explained to us that students have to get nominated to serve on the student council by a teacher. Teachers will consider how kind a student is, if they're responsible, and how well they do in class. She also explained that the student council is organized into two different groups. One meets in the fall and the other meets in the spring. They do it this way so all of the students get a chance to participate in the activities.

Gemma told us that one of her favorite activities is working with the residents of O'Neill’s HealthCare. O’Neill’s is a senior living community located near the school. The student council visits the facility and gives them homemade ornaments and they drink hot chocolate together. Gemma told us that it’s really rewarding to see all of the smiles on peoples faces when they're there. The visits to O’Neill’s are so popular, that there’s even a wait list for students to participate!!

That’s not all though, Gemma told us that the student council also runs a food drive every year and they donate the food they collect to the Fairview Hunger Center. They even have a Turkey Trot race to kick off the event. Gemma finished 6th in this year’s race, even though she was recovering from a recent surgery. That’s one fast turkey!

Gemma told us that she’s learned a lot in student council. She wants all of you to know that it’s a lot of fun to be involved in your community and as a bonus, it’s really rewarding. She told us that when you give back, and make people smile, it’s one of the best feelings you can have.

This week’s A+ Award goes to Gemma and the Gilles-Sweet student council!

Michael Edelman is the director of education for Ideastream Public Media.