Number of Participants: 300
Hours Donated: 1
Value of Time Served: $2,535
Event Type: Justice & Legal
Date: October 20, 2021
The Garden City Public Schools celebrated National Unity Day on Oct. 20. Unity Day is an annual event that promotes joining together to create healthier communities through kindness, acceptance of difference and inclusion. All staff and students were invited to wear orange to show their unified support and each building featured special activities that incorporated the day’s messages.
Garden City High School shared announcements throughout the week reminding students about the importance of the day and encouraged them to think about acts of kindness that can positively impact others. Unity Day featured a variety of classroom lessons and activities. Some students utilized their coding skills in the library and created anti-bullying PSAs, and juniors in Michael Berg’s World Language classes took a moment to walk around the room and speak with peers, offering expressions of kindness in Spanish.
Garden City Middle School students received an enthusiastic greeting as they arrived in the morning. Staff members and student volunteers cheered and waved orange pom-poms for those entering the building. Lunch periods included small assemblies and walls were decorated with posters that students created in honor of the day.
Stewart School Social Worker Michele Vincent read the book “Odd Bird” by Derek Desierto and students engaged in conversations about the importance of accepting each other’s differences and becoming an inclusive school community. They illustrated their reflections and interpretations on paper and proudly shared their finished work. Art students created their own “Odd Bird” mural by decorating feathers that were assembled together to form a colorful and unique collage.
Stratford School’s Social Worker Krystin DeMartinis hosted a school wide virtual assembly that also featured “Odd Bird” while connecting Unity Day with the building’s Four Pillars of Great Character. Students in the Buddies Program painted friendship rocks for the garden, and specials provided a variety of ways to explore the day’s theme. Students sang about kindness in music, worked on videos about being kind and preventing bullying in their technology periods, created Google Slides presentations incorporating Spanish vocabulary words that relate to unity in FLES classes and worked collaboratively to build index card towers in library sessions. Some classes designed mock social media posts integrating unity, while art classes created Unity Day paper links after reading the book Kindness is Cooler, Mrs. Ruler, by Margery Cuyler. Each student decorated links with ways to be kind and inclusive, and the finished pieces were connected to form the word “Unity.” ENL classes read “Whoever You Are” by Mem Fox and compared and contrasted the ways that people are similar and different in the story. Several other special area staff members led students in stating positive attributes about themselves and creating a unity tree comprised of paper leaves that list ways to support friends and peers.
Hemlock, Homestead and Locust primary school students enjoyed a read aloud led by Social Worker Tracy Martinez. The book “Ricky the Rock that Couldn’t Roll” by Mr. Jay provided an age-appropriate connection to Unity Day’s concepts, as it tells the story of a flat-sided rock character who is eventually able to roll alongside his friends thanks to their help and inclusive efforts. The children then created individual kindness rocks to be displayed in the courtyards as reminders to always be kind. Locust additionally held a fall festival that featured many opportunities to work together, and Hemlock students enjoyed a visit from the Garden City High School Life Skills group, during which they spent time together in the garden harvesting crops that they helped plant.
Hemlock 1&2: Hemlock School students created kindness rocks.
Homestead 1&2: Homestead students created kindness rocks based on a story that they read.
Locust 1&2: Locust School students celebrated Unity Day with kindness rocks crafts along with a fall festival.
Stewart 1&2: Stewart School students created Unity Day projects and illustrations.
Stratford 1&2: At Stratford, students created a collage of paper links along with many other Unity Day activities.
MS 1&2: Garden City Middle School staff members and student volunteers cheered and waved orange pom-poms for those entering the building.
HS1: Garden City High School shared Unity Day messages.
HS2: Garden City High School Life Skills students visited Hemlock and helped with garden work.
Photos Courtesy of Garden City Public Schools