This St. Patrick’s Day and all throughout March, the shamrocks are in bloom at White Oaks Elementary School. The hundreds of lucky charms covering the branches of a paper tree near the school entrance display messages and illustrations from students and staff.
The tree was blooming with hearts in February and before that, paper holiday ornaments made by staff.
“I stole this idea from another school,” school counselor Carrie Bossler admitted sheepishly. “I steal all the time.”
She borrowed the idea of a hallway tree during the Great Kindness Challenge in January. “We decorated the tree with hearts, asking students and staff to write how they show kindness to others.”
Bossler put her own spin on the idea for March – an idea others may be inclined to “steal” from her because of the positive reaction from students, staff and parents.
She and pre-kindergarten teacher assistant Heidi Ullrich cut out paper shamrocks, as did a class of students with disabilities as part of a service project. All students and staff received a shamrock and were asked to share what they feel lucky for in their lives.
I’m lucky because I have the best mom.
My red hair.
I am lucky to have a helpful, caring, amazing family.
“What makes me feel lucky is life, family and my friends,” fifth-grader Lavelle Brown said he wrote on his shamrock. He noted that he also added the words “love” and “dragons.”
“Our school is the dragons,” he explained. “At the same time, I love wolves, too.”
Brown didn’t hesitate when asked which shamrock other than his own is his favorite.
“This one,” he said pointing to it. “I feel so lucky to work with the most amazing kids and staff at the beach.”
Principal Stephanie Haus said the blooming tree engages the students and visitors.
“The kids really do like finding their shamrock and others. They enjoy looking at it and reading it.”
Fifth-grader Noa Johnson filled her shamrock with the people, items and hobbies that are important to her: mom, dad, sister, basketball, swimming, food, clothes, shelter, love, adore.
Why does she feel lucky to have all that in her life?
“Because if I didn’t I would be lonely,” said Johnson.
Bosseler admitted she didn’t know the shamrock tree was going to be so popular.
“And they’re even up on the ceiling,” she noted. “All it needs now is a rainbow.”
There are still two more weeks in March to add more, but Bosseler is already thinking about April.
“We’re going to keep it up all year because we’ve had such a positive reaction to it,” said Bosseler. “The parents love it. The kids love it.”
“Next month is going to be our Month of the Military Child tree. We’re going to have flags and purple. In May, probably flowers and then who knows?”
Until then, each and every shamrock will remind White Oaks students, staff and families of all for which they are grateful.
As one student wrote: I feel lucky to have very good parents that feed me, dress me and bring me to school.