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"Kindness Matters" is the motto for students at Jackson and Cork Elementary Schools.

Kindness blooms in two Plant City elementary schools

March 28, 2016

There is more blooming in Plant City than strawberries!  Jackson and Cork Elementary Schools have made a connection that reinforces both schools’ missions and proves once again that kindness does matter. At Cork Elementary School, the students in the 4th and 5th grades were looking for a service project for their student leadership program.  Other grades at Cork were already making greeting cards, keeping the campus clean, and supplying a clothes closet, so it seemed a natural decision to support literacy with a book drive. Books were something that would benefit everybody that donated them and everybody who received them, and they didn’t have to be new to be appreciated.    

     With the assistance of the Area Elementary Generalist Supervisor, Rhonda Pulling, Jackson Elementary was identified because they need more books and they would truly appreciate the gesture of kindness.  Jackson Elementary, which is a city school located deep in an urban setting, and Cork Elementary School, which is located in a very rural area of Plant City, have a lot of basic similarities, even though they are geographically different.  Jackson’s Principal, Doris Madison, was thrilled to use the generous donation from Cork as a way to celebrate literacy at her school.  She identified a group of students as “ambassadors” who would represent the school when the books arrived, and they were reflective of the “Swimming to Success” PBS (Positive Behavior Support) program at Jackson – some mentors, some peer tutors, and some safety patrols, but all had positive behavior in common.

     On a sunny morning in Plant City, Cork Principal Sherri-Lyn Black accompanied her Executive Council student leaders as they personally delivered the donated books to the Jackson Stars student ambassadors at Jackson.  As the Jackson custodial staff unloaded the truck that was completely filled with over 1800 books, the students met and introduced each other, and their smiles and laughter were a sure sign that kindness had created a common ground between them.  The books were escorted to the media center, and more and more conversations began, which in turn stimulated an exchange of deeper thoughts and ideas once the groups were seated.  It was evident that true concern and genuine compassion had bloomed between the students from both schools, and all of them expressed their desire to show that kindness matters by “paying it forward” to other schools in the future.  Plant City has a lot more to brag about than just strawberries – it has Cork and Jackson Elementary Schools, and both of them are truly preparing students for life.

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