Educators have obligation to teach students to give back

We are very fortunate to live in a community that cares so much about education. Our local communities have continuously invested in our youth. I believe that it is important that we, too, teach our youth to give back to our communities. I would like to share examples of how that is happening.

Every year, our certified nursing assistant (CNA) students participate in many activities at the Houghton County Medical Care Facility. These include dressing up at Halloween to entertain the residents, honoring the veterans at the facility on Veterans Day, and helping with their annual Christmas party.

Our students are an important part in the lives of the residents. Additionally, our CNA students work with the Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly to deliver Christmas packages to the elderly and help out with the organization’s food drive.

For the last few years, both our CNA and health careers students have helped stuff envelopes for the Omega House’s fundraising campaign, which has been a great help to that organization. They have also helped make clothing protectors at the request of the Portage Health Auxiliary for elders at Portage Pointe.

A year or two ago, the students took on a major project to help a local family in which the father and husband had become very ill and had to spend a year in a hospital downstate. The students organized a spaghetti dinner and silent auction. It was truly amazing to see how many people came to the fundraiser and how much hard work and organization it took to put it all together.

Our health career students have worked with our local elementary schools, by going into classrooms to teach our young students the importance of handwashing.

The health career students have also taken our elementary students to visit Portage Pointe to visit the residents during the holidays. This is a great way to help mentor some of our youngest students in the importance of giving back to our community.

Giving back to the community is not done just in our health-related classrooms. Our CTE auto tech class helps work on cars for the U.P. Kids Wheels program, a collaboration between U.P. KIDS and the Copper Country ISD. U.P. KIDS recruits individuals, banks, car dealerships and other businesses to donate used vehicles. Automotive students in the Auto Tech program perform repairs and safety checks. U.P. KIDS gives the reconditioned vehicles to families in need.

The CTE construction trades class in Baraga recently teamed up with the Michigan DNR to build 14 deer traps to help with a deer migration study. When deer enter the trap for food, both ends drop to capture the deer, while a side door provides access for collaring.

This is a DNR strategy for monitoring for chronic wasting disease in deer that are possibly coming from Wisconsin.

Last year, the village of L’Anse approached a student in the CTE machine tool class, which is housed in the L’Anse school, about a water pump shaft that kept bending and needed to be replaced. The student designed a new shaft and made it himself. The project was a success.

The Copper Country community has provided great support for our students. We are proud to showcase just a few of the ways that our students are giving back to our community as well.

George Stockero Jr. is the superintendent of the Copper Country Intermediate School District.