Fairlee students get lesson in empathy

Published: Nov. 14, 2023 at 3:57 PM EST
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FAIRLEE, Vt. (WCAX) - Current events are built into the 4th-grade curriculum at the Samuel Morey Elementary School in Fairee. And one news story in particular caught the students’ attention and led to a sweet Tuesday afternoon.

The ice cream was flowing Tuesday in Mr. Cassell’s 4th-grade class -- which my daughter happens to be a part of. It was a change from the daily routine which usually begins with CNN-10, a student-focused news show.

“It helps me pay attention so I learn new things from the news,” said Gavin Murray, grade 4.

The students recently learned about how a drought in Plaquemines Parish, a coastal community in Louisiana, is affecting the water supply there.

“When you can’t drink water, it’s a big problem because you need water to survive,” said Lizzie Johnson, grade 4. She felt bad about it and ended up writing a card of concern to the community -- being compassionate to others is another lesson taught in the class.

“To care about other people and say are you okay?” said Ben Kriezis, grade 4.

Officials in Louisiana were so touched by the words they decided to throw the kids a party. The Samuel Morey students suggested a class in Louisiana should take part, too.

“Any two schools can do this,” said teacher Chris Cassell.

While sharing the sweet treat, the two classes connected over Zoom. Thankfully, the water issue in their area has since been fixed. “It may be a connection that we foster for a month, we may become pen pals, who knows,” Cassell said.

But one thing is certain, kind words can go a long way.

“If you do kind things to them, then they will do kind things back,” said Panda Sullivan, grade 4.

And as for ice cream -- who doesn’t love ice cream, right? It’s almost like the kids don’t even know they’re learning.