This might seem like a departure from the usual posts here, but I can’t resist sharing this news about my nephew Ben.
Ben Whitson, Abiqua School first-grader, was lauded as this month’s Good Citizen Monday at the Salem City Council meeting. He is the second to receive the honor and the first elementary school student to earn it.
For more than a year, Ben has been volunteering 1.5 hours every Friday sorting food with his mom at Marion-Polk Food Share, and he came up with the idea to start a food drive in his first-grade class this winter.
“I help people, and also, I didn’t do it all by myself,” Ben said. “Some of my classmates helped.”
Ben is actually setting an example that is relevant to my work in curriculum. In Social Studies, we recognize the importance of students — even in the earliest grades — learning to be active and effective citizens in their communities. Too often people think that this is beyond the capabilities of younger children, for whom we should aim only for them to learn factual information about history and geography.
To overcome the tendency to sell young people short, it’s very helpful to be able to point to a good positive example like Ben Whitson.
Way to go, Ben!