SK students display egg-cellent character

Orchard Heights Elementary School showed off some egg-ceptional care and egg-cellent parenting Thursday when each student toted around a hard-boiled egg around for the duration of the school day.

Naming the little eggs things like Metroid, Adrian, Ben, Birdie, The Rock, Mick, Anastasia, Robin and Yoda, the students cared for the eggs to learn the six “pillars” the school espouses — trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring and citizenship.

“We’re supposed to treat them with respect,” said 9-year-old Megan Hillier during her lunch break.

Her class snaked through the hallways on their way to the cafeteria, each cradling their eggs in wads of tissue paper. They treated each egg delicately — at least until it was time to show them off.

The program was developed by the national Character Counts organization, and comes along with a week of school-wide activities.

Hillier’s teacher, Kelly Marsik, worked with other teachers and staff to make sure everyone was on board for a day of ... well, walking on eggshells, as students carried the tiny fragile ova from their classrooms to the music room, the playground and the cafeteria.

“It takes a lot of trust as a techer to give 28 sixth-graders eggs,” teacher Michael Grellar said.

Nathan Loch, 12, and Courney Syrovy, 11, two of Grellar’s students, went to PE and set up “babysitters” to watch the eggs while others ran around the gymnasium.

Of course, if learning good character is an omelette, a few eggs will be broken, and each student took the loss a little differently.

The oldest of the school took it in stride and got the clear take-home message of carefulness and respect, but the younger ones took it a little harder.

“Some of them were not happy,” first-grade teacher Emily Yellowlees said. Students took the job seriously in her class, and she confessed, “We’ve had a couple of tears.”

Third-grader Hailey Ellison, 8, looked anything but happy when she described her egg’s ill fate. On her way out the door of the classroom, the door swung into her hand holding the egg.

“They feel a lot of guilt,” her teacher John Dawson said, “that they let the class as a whole down.”

Others had more success. In Shannon Kelly’s Achieving Academics Within Ability (AAA) class, the students had a minimum of drops, and each break was treated with a band-aid.

The students each carried their egg in a self-made basket, pod or egg-carton car. Some students literally wrapped their eggs in layer upon layer of tissue paper.

“They really took it head on,” Kelly said. The students dove into the project determining the best way to keep their eggs unharmed. “You could just really see their wheels turning.”

Halfway through the day, many students had seen egg fatalities, many classes losing more than half, but each drop became a teaching moment, and at the end of the day teachers recapped what it meant to care for the object, and how it related to the overall “Character Counts” theme.

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