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Birmingham Students Visit DC to Talk about Project Cope Initiative

Birmingham Students Visit DC to Talk about Project Cope InitiativeJim Shaffer KELLER ad black

(Birmingham Schools Press Release, Nov. 16, 2014)

Birmingham Covington School students certainly didn’t do it for the glory, but their achievements over the last two years have catapulted them into the spotlight. Former fifth and sixth grade students from BCS have taken their service learning to a whole new level after presenting at the conference held this year in Washington, D.C.

In 2013, the students in Pauline Roberts and Rick Joseph’s class decided to take on a pretty lofty goal: to change the lives of people across the globe. As part of their Project Cope Initiative, they chose to raise $12,000 for a two-wheel tractor that was given to the village of Chilupula in Zambia, Africa. The students explored ways to raise funds for their project and involved the entire school, learning they couldn’t do it lisa schmidt lawalone. In some cases, small businesses began. Students explored and researched the village and people of the village and in the end raised well over their target amount. The tractors were delivered this summer and will help the village become self-sustaining. Their work has inspired Project Cope and educators worldwide.

“I learned what can happen when a group comes together for a good cause,” said Helen Devine, now a seventh grade student. “I learned that sometimes kids can do things that adults can’t, and we should all step up to that.”

Over Halloween weekend, the students – not the teachers – were invited to share their project and techniques with educators at the National Forum on Character Education. And this wasn’t the first time the class served to inspire others with their work. This past March, the students were invited to participate in We Day, where they Skyped with students across the nation. We Day is an educational event and a movement of young people leading local and global change.934_8600_Gen-Online_Banners2

“They were proud to be invited, to share their incredible story, promote their project and to represent their school, which they did impeccably,” Roberts said. “They set up their booth with no adult direction or assistance and began to engage passing adults and making jewelry (a project they started to raise funds) to sell. As each team rotated through their booth shift I was amazed at how well they articulated their passion and commitment.”

The 30 students in attendance presented on their project and led an information booth and a break-out session with educators over the course of the conference. Feedback from attendees included:

“Empower and trust the students! Fail Forward! Outstanding, Meaningful, and all around Inspiring!”

“Each of you did a great job presenting. I’m inspired to listen to my students and step back to follow their lead.”

“I want to make our service learning more meaningful. You guys are awesome!”

To learn more about Birmingham Schools go to


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