WATSONVILLE — In the coming days, Amelia Earhart will visit Lisa Fowler’s classroom at Linscott Charter School, as will Abraham Lincoln, Albert Einstein and Rosa Parks.
Of course, the actual pilot, president, theoretical physicist and civil rights activist won’t be coming, as the youngest among them died more than a decade ago.
But their personas will live on in the first- through third-graders, during a classroom project in which they study people who have changed the world, and then pretend to be them for a presentation.
Students will also perform as Thomas Edison, Mother Teresa and Sacagawea, among 13 others.
The project is part of an overarching lesson on community service that has been a part of Fowler’s lessons for years.
This year, a discussion about Global Youth Service Day – an annual event in which young people perform community service projects – prompted the students to hold an event of their own.
A brainstorming session brought more than two dozen ideas of projects the students could do, and organizations they could help.
“Of course, we couldn’t do them all, because there were 27 ideas,” Fowler said.
After winnowing down the ideas, the students settled on four. They painted pictures of animals to sell, and prints are available for purchase by the public. All of the proceeds will go to the Santa Cruz Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
The students also decided to join Save Our Shores for a beach cleanup in May, and to donate vegetables they grew in their garden to Second Harvest Food Bank.
“It felt like I was helping the Earth be a better place,” said Cash Gomez, 8.
Finally, the students collected items such as pajamas, stuffed animals and prepaid gas cards to give to Jacob’s Heart Children’s Cancer Support Services.
Fowler gave credit for the service projects entirely to her students.
“I feel like my job has been to facilitate their ideas,” she said.
“I’m excited to see these kids show such a heart for making a change in their community at such a young age,” she said.
Angelique Flores, who is studying Mother Teresa for the upcoming assignment, said she has been pleased with the projects.
“I feel good,” she said. “We’re helping out the Earth, where we live.”
Aaralyn Naakatami, 8, said she most enjoyed the art project, but said the environmental portion of the assignment has also been fun.
“So our community is safe, and nothing will go extinct,” she said.
Prints of the children’s work are available for purchase. For information, email Lisa Fowler at [email protected].