Sixth-grader Andrew Granger and his classmates at Parkview Baptist joked March 6 with a group of kindergartners from Gardere Community Christian School while they ate lunch on campus.
They were fueling up for the next round in what had already been a day full of fun and games for the GCCS students, ranging from pre-kindergartners to seventh-graders, said Paige White, as Parkview hosted a field day for the new school on its campus.
Granger, like most of the Parkview sixth-grade class, was paired with a “little buddy” for the day, acting as a guide and playmate through several stations that included field day games on the football field, inflatable bouncy houses in the gym and a worship service in the auditorium.
The field day was part of the Parkview students’ day of service project this year, Principal Joana Dieterich said.
“We do a service component as part of every school year,” she said.
“A good service project is hard to find for sixth-graders because not everyone can accommodate 113 sixth-graders,” she said, laughing.
Jeff More, a former teacher at Parkview who started teaching at GCCS when it opened this year, told his former colleagues at Parkview how much his students could use a day of fun, he said.
It turned out to be a perfect match, Dieterich said. “Since we have the facilities, we decided to just bring the students here.”
More agreed, adding that the missions of both schools are well-matched — the inclusion of faith in the education process and a commitment to see every student get into college.
“It makes sense that the two schools should build a partnership,” he said.
The students had some hand in designing the field day, said Paige White, who, along with Jonathan White, coordinated the joint venture from Parkview’s end.
“They have been so excited,” she said. “We talked to our students beforehand and let them know that they should let their buddy decide what games to play.”
Granger and his buddy played a lot of games that involved racing. “He really likes to run, so we’ve been doing a lot of running,” he said. Granger said he was surprised to realize that a day of serving others doesn’t have to feel like work. “This has been fun.”
The project supports an idea the school has been promoting this year, White said, about turning their focus away from self and toward others. The campaign, “My Selfie-less Life,” has been all about listening to the needs of others. It’s on the T-shirts they’re wearing, along with the hashtag #itsnotaboutme.
They’ve been encouraging its use on social media to get students thinking about ways to give of themselves.
The day also included a lunch spread for Gardere teachers provided by the parent-teacher organization, which Dieterich said, is part of the service their parents provide for teachers once a month. It is always highly anticipated, she said.
Parkview students divided up into teams that were responsible for setting up games, serving concessions and cleaning up in addition to acting as buddies for the day.
The school also held a school supply drive for the next class of GCCS students.
More said he and White hope to keep the tradition going and collaborate on projects.
“For the first year, we wanted to give them time to get to know each other. I’m very excited about the possibility of deepening that relationship.”