Alexis Hayden, fifth-grade teacher at Frank Jacinto Elementary School, addresses students at an assembly Monday afternoon celebrating the kickoff of her class participating in a gratitude journal project.
PHOTO PROVIDED BY ERIC BONZAR Enlarge
LORAIN — The first in Ohio, a fifth-grade class at Frank Jacinto Elementary School is participating in the Grateful Peoples Gratitude Writing Journal Project.
Teacher Alexis Hayden said her class was selected by “High Voltage,” or Kathie Dolgin with Energy Up! Originally from Lorain, Dolgin selected Lorain Schools as one of eight cities in the country to participate in the program.
“It’s a yearlong project,” Hayden said. “The journals are hardbound, they’re not a spiral notebook and it’s something that in 10 years, 20 years they want to look back on it and see how their thinking has changed and when they’re 30 they can look back at their fifth-grade self.”
Her class started Tuesday, and will continue to write in the journals every day after lunch for 10 to 15 minutes. They can write their dreams, goals, positive things that happened to them, or try to find the silver lining in a negative situation, Hayden said.
“Their names are written in there and their eyes lit up today when they handed them their books,” she said. “They have such pride in their books right now and everything fits the core values of Lorain City Schools.”
Hayden said it is an honor to have her class selected to participate in the program and hopes it inspires her students to teach others in their lives about gratefulness. The Grateful Peoples project started in 2017 with 25 students, and has since grown to more than 4,200 students listing what they’re grateful for, according to its website. The nonprofit is based in New York City.
Lorain Schools held an assembly Monday afternoon to celebrate Hayden’s class. At it, actress Lexi Garcia, best known for her performance in Broadway Musical “Hamilton,” gave a video shout-out to students. Hayden said the class plans to write thank-you notes for Garcia.
“She took time out of her day to create that video for my 27 students,” Hayden said.
While the students were excited by the recognition they’ve received — asking Hayden to replay Garcia’s message for them at the beginning of class Tuesday — what means a lot to Hayden and her students is the local support.
From glitter gel pens to squishy pencil grips, community members have donated tools so students can make writing in their journals special, Hayden said.
“They’re really into this and we’re going to be writing some thank-you notes to the people who donated supplies,” she said. “People are still calling (to donate) and I think it’s great because the community is behind this project and for that I’m really grateful because it shows that they’re behind our kids.”
Hayden has taught elementary school at buildings throughout the district for 22 years. This is her fifth year at Frank Jacinto Elementary.