Bonanza students visit senior living homes to sing holiday carols, talk with residents
Bonanza Elementary students shared stories, conversation, songs and holiday cheer Tuesday with residents of two Klamath Falls senior living homes.
In what Bonanza staff say will likely be a new tradition, two fifth-grade classes, a third-grade class and a sixth-grade class readied Christmas carols and created homemade cards to share when they visited Pacifica Senior Living and Shasta Place.
“Smiles and Christmas spirit were in high supply,” said Jason Hardrath, who teaches physical education at Bonanza and helped coordinate the visits. “The students felt they’d done something meaningful, us teachers felt proud, and the elderly felt cared for ... yep, Christmas is as it should be out at Bonanza Elementary.”
Hardrath credited Bonanza Elementary School Principal Jennifer Hayes for creating a meaningful learning experience about compassion, giving and kindness.
Hardrath, sixth-grade teacher Crystle Gillam, third-grader teacher Bethany Holmes, and fifth-grade teachers Erin Northcutt and Francesca Grounds worked with students, preparing them for conversations with what Hardrath calls “more experienced humans.”
Kristi Singleton, assistant manager at Shasta Place, an independent senior living home at 151 N. Williams Ave., said the residents there enjoyed the visit from students. “The kids were absolutely darling,” she said. “They mingled and talked and put cards on the dining room tables. We definitely hope they come visit again.”
Students also went ice skating at the Bill Collier Ice Arena, and learned to skate or improve their skills. “As a PE teacher, I feel one of my duties, and my passion, is to introduce students to lifetime activities that they can spend the rest of their lives falling in love with so they can go on to be skilled, healthy, active adults,” Hardrath said. “This was definitely achieved.”
Students raised money for the field trip to the retirement homes and the ice arena last spring through a “Run-A-Thon Fundraiser,” where students got sponsors to pay them a certain amount per lap they could walk or run in 30 minutes.