A teacher at Soehl Middle School in Linden paid a surprise visit to the homes of two students recently to reward them for their faithful participation in her after-school enrichment class.
Jennifer Veltre, a language arts teacher, hosts the voluntary “Socialize and Scattergories” class each week as part of the school’s 21st Century Community Learning center activities. Students gather online after regular classes to play games and talk about life, sometimes with guest teachers, or pajama parties or snack parties.
“I teach the students how to have meaningful conversations, and listen with intention,” Veltre said. “It’s a safe space where students can talk about things they can’t always address while in class.”
Two sixth-grade girls, Amanda Banton and Alina Noble, have been regular participants, showing up every class and engaging in a kind and compassionate way.
One of their projects was to create 2021 vision boards, to highlight the importance of setting goals and remembering that there is always something to look forward to, especially after such a trying year.
Leading up to that project, Veltre decided to surprise Amanda and Alina with backpacks filled with school and art supplies to help them create something beautiful. The backpack included pencils, markers, stickers, books, and other craft supplies.
The girls put their new supplies to great use. They began their vision boards by drafting out the things that matter most to them, discussing how to better themselves, and highlighting the vision they have for this year.
“We crafted and talked and listened to music while we created,” Veltre said.
“I couldn’t be more proud of these two sixth-grade girls, their appreciation for life and family, their kindness and compassion when listening to each other, and their faithful attendance in my class,” she said. “They have taught me lessons, made me laugh, and I am grateful to be working with them every week.”