The weather conditions on the day of the 2012 Community Give pushed the temperature several degrees higher than the norm for a wintry February day. But Onondaga Nation School children wore their winter gear throughout the day with a few older students creatively transforming their attire for a more fitting springtime Community Give trek.
In January each student begins preparing for the Community Give by composing a completed writing piece prior to the New Year ceremonies. The annual Literary Journal is one of the coveted items treasured by the community seniors, therefore it is a steadfast element of the Community Give package. Throughout the month of February the children are busy planning their grade level project for the elders. Each of the grade level projects is hand made specifically for the elders by the students. The days preceding the “Give” were bustling with vegetables going one way down the hall and pumpkin muffins moving in the opposite direction at the Onondaga Nation School. Mr. Brannigan the new ONS Home, Careers, and Technologies teacher completed his grocery list of foods and containers for the annual event making sure the needs of every classroom were met.
The 2012 Community Give package includes: Kindergarten-Warm Chili, 1st Grade-Snowman Cocoa, 2nd Grade-Gonnonwenkwa Picture Frames, 3rd Grade-Student Designed All Occasion Cards, 4th Grade-Winter Cup Cakes, 5th Grade-3 Sister’s Soup, 6th Grade-February Pancake Mix, 7th Grade- Seasonal Cookbook, 8th Grade-Important Telephone Lists, and the 2012 edition of the Literary Journal. In addition to these specialty items the Home & Careers Grades 5-6-7 crafted a Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix, Onondagega Language prepared ONS’s own Maple Syrup, and The Technology Education made the Wooden Turtle Rattles. Also a donation was received from the Onondaga Nation Health Center, the Native American Women’s Association provided grocery totes, and pen/brochures came from the American Indian Community House.
This year there were 103 community members acknowledge as respected citizens of the Onondaga Nation. The school prepared 85 boxes with 18 of these boxes considered “doubles” to honor the families and households with more than one elder.
The Community Give event is an integrated, multi-grade level collaborative educational event with every classroom and staff person working meticulously. The school’s student enrollment, staffing and volunteers are divided equally amongst 15 groups. Each group may have up to 9 students to include at least one student from each of the classrooms Kindergarten through 8th grade. Every year the junior high students step up to the occasion to become wonderful role models and caretakers of the younger students in each of the delivery groupings.
The annual Community Give would not be the same without the assistance of the many volunteerswho donate their valuable time to this worthwhile event. Every volunteer is welcomed and we hope more people from the community will stop by to spend the day with our children and elders. Many volunteers stopped in the morning before departure from ONS and a grand Niawenha is extended to you. A few names from the many volunteers include Sherelle Shenandoah, Leah Lyons, Kim Homer, Josie Cook, Cheri Abrams, Sharon Cook, Peggy Steeprock, Danielle LeoGrande, and Kathleen Clemens chaperoned and guide students to homes.
Freida Jacques, the event Coordinator says, “The Onondaga Nation School has run the community give for many years. The school wants our children to value the elders and we know the elders enjoy seeing and visiting with the children.”
The Onondaga Nation School believes most importantly in the true spirit of the Community Give because the energy of this traditional event is healing for both the giver and the receiver – it is truly a Community Give Day for everyone.