Cool School: Forts Pond Elementary - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

Cool School: Forts Pond Elementary

PELION, SC (WIS) -

The Forts Pond Elementary Mighty Little Mallards are doing a huge project, something they participate in every year, benefiting those who give the most to serve our country. For the last two weeks, they have been collecting the essentials to pack and ship to service members overseas.

"We want to show them we care so we are putting stuff in these boxes and sending it to Kuwait," said third grader Michael Watts.

On the receiving end is a military couple who are both battery commanders of their two battalions.

But this isn't the first time the kids made these military care packages. Last year their boxes ended up in Afghanistan. The battalion sent pictures back, showing their appreciation.

This year the students will get something else.

"We've asked different classes to write letters to the men and women that these donations will be going to, and this year from what we understand these kids will be getting letters back and we are thrilled to see that," said PTO President Kimberly Spears..

Third Grader Esmerelda Hernandez already knows what she is planning to put in her letter.

"I think I am going to be putting something like this, 'Thank you for fighting for this beautiful country and for all of us,'" she said.

In the past Forts Pond Elementary raised money to send a veteran to Washington, D.C. on Honor Flight. Now they are working to help the Pelion community get a veterans memorial, something the community doesn't have.

"We are selling bricks where you can have the person's name engraved and what branch they serve in, we are getting close. Our goal is 1,000 but we are not there yet," said Michelle Smith, the school's principal.

So far the school has raised $400 to contribute to the planned community memorial.

"We are doing it to show how much we appreciate them fighting for us and helping us out," said third grader Kaytlin Zanoni.

"They fought for us and we can give them something back, a little gift," Hernandez said.

Another goal at Forts Pond, tackling bullying.

The initiative is called Peaceful Play Grounds. It helps students with problem solving, resolving conflict, and following the rules.

“Peaceful Playgrounds gives these kids the opportunity to get out here and play some games that take away from the bullying aspect. We can play games to eliminate the arguing and the bullying and some of those problems,” said Coach Parrish Deans.

Forts Pond is also a school recognized as a Leader in Me school.

“We implemented the 7 Habits program which is based on Franklin Covey's work. It's an instructional program that incorporates leadership principles in everything we do here. In our culture, curriculum and it provides students with character and life skills today and in their future,” Smith said.

Forts Pond Elementary has been open for the last seven years, and Principal Smith says that she is extremely proud of her students who are conscientious of their community and giving, which is what makes them a cool school.

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