Eastern Mennonite Elementary students took part in a school-wide project this winter, “Sharing our Stories” with each class putting their own “spin” on the effort. The project built on the overall theme for the year of belonging .
The goal was to help students learn about their ancestors and share with each other about their personal histories. “We hope the activity will help us find grounding in our own story and respect for others as we hear their stories,” explains Maria Archer, principal.
Fifth grade class members — pictured in these images — each shared a story with classmates that they had gathered. Some students talked with grandparents to get a family history story, some brought in artifacts, some shared about where they recently moved from, or a favorite family story, says teacher Erika Gascho, who compiled class findings into the following poem.
Sharing Our Stories by 5th Grade
We are from
Picnics at Riven Rock Park in the heat of summer,
From the first post office in Bergton, Virginia
And from great grandparents who lived in Lacey Springs.
We are from the royalty of Lords, Kings, and Queens,
From farmland and colorful quilts,
And from the canning of summer produce.
We are from Jamestown in the 1600s
And ships that brought ancestors to America.
We are from playing church with chickens in South Africa
And from Panama, the Amazon Rainforest, Spain, and Chicago.
We hold pieces of the Berlin Wall in our hands
And we hold the symbol from Egbert of England from the 700s.
We have tasted Rhubarb Pie and Oatmeal Cookies.
We are from founders of nations
And from Venezuela, Ireland, Germany, and Switzerland.
We are from other states.
We are from Harrisonburg, Virginia
We are from 5th grade at EMES.