When Lower School Art Teacher Allison Kim introduced her "Thanking Our Community Helpers" lesson earlier this month, she had no idea how much Severn Lower School kindergartener Peter Mahaffee took it to heart. His mom Susan enjoyed the lesson, too, learning how to make block letters for Peter to adorn with color and pattern. The banner was a labor of love for the Northern District Police Station first responders where his dad Jon is the Executive Officer. When Lieutenant Mahaffee walked in the door after work one evening and discovered the project underway, he was touched by his son's thoughtfulness. He no sooner finished pining the thank you banner to the wall a couple of days later at the Northern District Police Station when he heard the first of several touching comments from officers on duty. "Sometimes the simplest gestures bring the biggest smiles." Mahaffee said. The station posted to Facebook and Twitter, which attracted a fair amount of activity, including a "thumbs up heart" from Annapolis Mayor Gavin Buckley on Twitter. "I'm really proud of Peter for taking this project to heart and being a light for Jesus in his community," said Kim.
Kim credits Fred Rogers with inspiring her to create the lesson, which she instructed virtually earlier this month. The Presbyterian minister and beloved showrunner of Mr. Roger's Neighborhood, which aired on PBS from 1968 to 2001, said, "When I...would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, "Look for the helpers." The lesson encouraged students to make signs and hearts for health care heroes and first responders on the frontlines. Kim encouraged her students to think, too, about how people around them are helping neighbors and extended family from a safe distance. Students placed their signs in windows and on front doors to encourage their families and neighbors to pray for all who are working hard to keep us safe.
Kim knows that this art lesson took on special meaning for many students and their families. Thankfulness is a welcome contagion and one that is spreading rapidly thanks to AACS students.