"With a gentle nudge from God and a loose tie to their classroom theme, the first graders at Collegedale Academy raised $1,500 for the koalas impacted by the wild fires in Australia," officials said.
First grade teacher Mrs. Schepers uses a bear theme to create a fun and organized learning environment for her students, so the project seemed like a natural fit.
“As I watched the devastation in Australia on the news, I felt the urge to do something. But, what and how? When I saw the pictures of the burned koalas, I knew my bear cub first graders would want to help their marsupial friends. I still wasn’t sure if I should attempt anything, then I heard a sermon the next day and it solidified my decision.” said Mrs. Schepers.
The two Collegedale Academy first grade teachers, Mrs. Adams and Mrs. Schepers, talked to their first graders about having a bake sale to raise money to send to Australia for medical help, shelters and new homes – newly planted trees – for the burned and displaced koalas. Their students were passionate about wanting to help.
One student asked if he could draw pictures to sell. In collaboration, the elementary school’s art teacher, Mrs. Graham, came up with a koala art project and spent extra time with them to complete the paper plate koala art work that would be sold.
"Additionally, parent support has been a major factor in this endeavor by preparing baked goods and helping with advertising, along with their and the community’s purchases and straight-line donations," officials said.
The first graders have sold hundreds of bake sale items and 43 pieces of art work.
“It is so exciting to give this much money to an organization that takes care of koalas. We are flabbergasted at the amount of money we made each day and by the total at end of the week. Thank you, God, for surprising us with our profits. He loves a willing heart and we have 43 passionate first grade hearts,” said Mrs. Schepers. “We have 'koala-ty' students, parents and classroom assistants who helped so much.”