Thumbs-up: To children making a difference. After fifth-grade teachers Ryan Wood and Amy Hager at Malta Elementary School challenged their students to make a difference, students responded by launching a letter-writing campaign asking local businesses for small donations to benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society through the Pennies for Patients program. Several local organizations – including Holcomb Bank, the Malta Police Department, Greg’s Garage, GameStop, Lovell’s Discount Tire, Alexis Kay Designs Inc., Dairy Queen, Almburg Auctions, the Junction Eating Place, Pizza Villa and Taco Bell – responded, with the largest donation coming from the AHL’s Rockford Ice Hogs, which made a contribution of $250. The funds will go to help pay for lifesaving research for children battling blood cancers. The students said they wanted to help children like them live normal lives despite battling illnesses. It’s a great example of what can be accomplished by even the youngest of us when we put our minds to it. Donations of as little as $1 for Pennies for Patients still are being accepted at the school office or checks can be mailed to Malta Elementary School, 5068 Route 38, Malta, IL 60150.
Thumbs-down: To the annual reveal of all of the trash that had been hidden under snow all winter. There’s a fair amount of litter that was hidden beneath the snow that fell this winter, and unfortunately, it didn’t melt away as well. Plastic cups and refuse that we didn’t see before now are revealed anew, and plastic bags have ridden the wind into open fields and trees. Spring cleaning isn’t only for the house – it’s for property, too.
Thumbs-up: To coming together to support each other. On Thursday, local people of many faiths came together to support members of the Muslim community in remembering the 50 people killed in a mass shooting at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. Mohammed Labadi, president of the Islamic Center of DeKalb, stressed the importance of dialogue between people of different backgrounds, for neighbors to support one another and for people to understand that like other religions, Islam is about peace. We’re glad to see so many people finding common ground and standing together in our community, where people of all faiths are welcome.
Thumbs-up: To stepping up to help grieving people. Spring break for DeKalb School District 428 was marred this year by the tragic death of Ezra Hill Jr., a fourth-grader at Tyler Elementary School. Although district schools were closed, officials mobilized to provide services including grief counseling and therapy dogs for people who were shocked at the unexpected loss. Educators get few respites during the school year other than designated break times, and we’re grateful for those who recognized the need the community had and responded even though schools were closed.