FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
COLUMBUS, GEORGIA, JANUARY 29, 2019—Calvary Christian School (CCS) fifth grade students recently learned the value of purchasing renters insurance. For the past two years, classroom economy has been taught by fifth grade math and social studies teacher Susan Prater where the students complete job applications, have salaries, pay rent on their desks, balance checkbooks, and pay taxes in April. Students were offered the opportunity to purchase and learn about renter’s insurance. The purchase of the insurance was optional, and only 14 out of 55 students purchased the insurance. At the end of each quarter, students are able to purchase auction items with the monies they have in their bank account.
On January 9, 2019, Hurricane Davis struck the classroom. Students were given no warning and were taken completely by surprise when their Elementary Principal, Marinda Smith, walked in holding an umbrella and microphone. The television camera lady was played by the Elementary Assistant Principal Danielle Barfield. Smith announced dramatically that a storm was forming in the Gulf of Mexico and appeared to be headed towards Columbus. Smith also expressed that she hoped students had insurance. The lights started to flicker and the Elementary Administrative Assistant, Loretta Robinson, walked in with a speaker playing thunderstorm sounds. Amy Davis, fifth grade elementary teacher, also known as Hurricane Davis, spun into the room complete with a costume she made with a lightning bolt hat and storm clouds, and she threw ping pong balls at students to simulate hail. Libbi Scoggins, fifth grade elementary teacher, walked around misting students with a spray bottle to simulate rain. Hurricane Davis chose eight names randomly from a bag and placed a paper plate on students’ desk letting them know their desk (home) had been hit by the hurricane. Students then flipped over the plates to determine if their home (desk) had partial or total destruction. Partial destruction meant the student lost their chair for the remainder of class and total destruction meant they lost their chair and their desk.
In the aftermath, Prater’s daughter, a CCS alum, walked in dressed as a Red Cross volunteer and handed out water. Prater discussed the purpose of the Red Cross and tied this into how God asks us to be servants to others and help out those in need. Students without prompting start telling other students, “You can come to my house and share my chair,” or “I’ll let you stay at my house for a while.” Prater and her students had many discussions about how neighbors take care of each other when disaster strikes. Principal Smith had been talking in chapel for weeks about how to be a good neighbor, and even though this was all make believe, the students were putting it into practice.
The next day, students went to class to find an anonymous donor had provided temporary housing supplies which included five gallon buckets and pieces of plywood for students to use while their houses were being repaired. The anonymous donor had seen first-hand the outpouring of support for Mexico Beach when she lost her home there during Hurricane Michael. She wanted the students to feel the same support. Student’s damaged homes (desks and chairs) were stacked in the back or the room with caution tape. Prater tells the students about the donation of temporary housing and tells the students they need to thank the donor. The students all wrote thank you notes. Displaced students were given a FEMA form to complete explaining what happened if they had insurance, how much money they had in the bank, what their job and salary was, and what they would do with the money if they received any. Students were then told if they didn’t have insurance they would have to pay $2,400 for total destruction and $1,200 for partial destruction. Considering that their rent is only $800 a month, this was a lot of money. Students began to ask if they could help their friends. A donation bucket was set up in the classroom so students could anonymously donate some of their own classroom money. Some students that lost their homes contributed to the donation as well. Prater used this time to discuss the widow in the Bible who put the two coins in the offering at the temple. They discussed her heart and how she didn’t want to draw attention to herself. The class talked about how people all over the country who didn’t personally know anyone at Mexico Beach came to offer their help with chainsaws, tractors, food trucks, donations, and driving donations down to the hurricane victims.
The following week, students were given a bill that listed their cost, subtracting the amount FEMA provided them, and also subtracting the amount donated by classmates. There were a few students who were unable to pay their monthly rent after they paid for their hurricane repairs. Students helped each other out by offering money they had to help other students pay their rent. Temporary housing was removed, and classroom activities returned to normal. Students were again given the opportunity to purchase insurance for the next quarter, and only six students opted not to participate.
Students told Ms. Prater, “I didn’t see the benefit of insurance until now” or “I didn’t want to spend the extra $200, but I see now why it would have been better than replacing my entire desk,” and “I never knew being an adult was so much work.”
This has been a really fun experience, and my students have learned so much. I am amazed at the discussions that came from what they have learned. What has made me the proudest is the way they have taken care of each other. It is only an exercise, and there is no real disaster, but they have each other’s backs. By helping their friends right now, they may only be giving up a cool toy that they could have purchased at the auction, but to me, it is much bigger than that. I hope that they remember this as they grow up and remember how they felt to know that even in the midst of the hard times, there will always be those willing to step up and help others. My hope is that they will be the ones who step up. – Susan Prater, Elementary Teacher who teaches Classroom Economy
Calvary Christian School is a K3-12th grade school and offers the following: Biblical instruction; challenging, academics; AP and Honor classes; dual enrollment; fine arts; a full athletic program; extra-curricular activities; weekly chapel; and before and after school care. CCS has a full-time onsite school nurse. Our family environment includes faculty with a love for Christ and teaching.
Since 1975, Calvary Christian School has been Teaching the Whole Child, the Whole Truth. An ACSI and AdvancED accredited K3-12th grade school, CCS’s faculty and staff are dedicated to providing real resources for spiritual, academic, social and physical growth for our students in a nurturing and supportive environment. As our school facilities grow, we continue to offer unparalleled opportunities. For more information about Calvary Christian School, visit CalvaryKnights.com, call 706.323.0467 or visit during Open House held each Thursday from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. with guided tours at 9:30 a.m. and 11:00 a.m.
Calvary Christian School / 7556 Old Moon Road / Columbus, GA 31909 / 706.323.0467 / A Ministry of Calvary Baptist Church
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