Old-school drive-through promotes literacy – The Leaven Catholic Newspaper

Elizabeth and her mother Leigh Corporal, who teaches English in grades 7 and 8 at Our Lady of Unity School in Kansas City, Kansas, watch “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” at Boulevard Drive-In in Kansas City, Kansas , November 18. The activity was part of the school’s Literacy Night, which promotes reading, writing and the school community. LEAVEN PHOTO BY JAY SOLDNER

by Moira Cullings
[email protected]

KANSAS CITY, Kan. – Families at Our Lady of Unity School traveled back in time on November 18 to enjoy one of Americans’ favorite past hobbies: the drive-in.

The parking lot at Boulevard Drive-In in Kansas City, Kansas, part of OLU Literacy Night, was awash with nostalgia for some, but excitement for others.

Most of the children present had never seen anything like it.

“It’s something every family should experience at least once in their lifetime,” said Martha Concannon, who works in the school’s resource room.

Classical music from the 1950s echoed through the theater’s speakers as the children navigated the play area.

The ambiance was just one exciting part of the evening, which was covered by Title I funding.

From left to right, Angelica, Katy, Karina and Alexah, students from Our Lady of Unity School, play together during Literacy Night. LEAVEN PHOTO BY JAY SOLDNER

Upon arrival, each wagon received a bag full of literary resources.

Arriving families were then asked to make two more stops before parking – the first to drop off food donations for charity and the second to grab a box of pizza for dinner.

The event, which was typically held at school, was moved to the drive-through this year due to COVID-19.

And the beautiful autumn weather did not keep anyone away. Families and friends from school turned out in droves – around 200 in total.

A group of students from Notre-Dame de l’UUnité run the pizza stand during the school’s Literacy Night. Each family received a pizza to enjoy at the drive-in. LEAVEN PHOTO BY JAY SOLDNER

“The main goal is to connect with parents and build a community around reading and literacy,” Concannon said.

“The sense of community that this event brings to our school is enormous,” she added. “We don’t have a lot of community-wide events. The fact that it brings together so many families is just wonderful. “

The students played games and won lightly used books. The evening culminated with the movie “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs”.

Concannon hoped parents would leave the theater “with an armful of books and a feeling of supporting their child as he grew in his reading skills.”

Carol Nichols, art teacher at Our Lady of Unity, and Emily Nichols, who teaches science and social studies in grades seven and eight, hand out resources to cars when they arrive at the Drive-In for Night of the Night. literacy. LEAVEN PHOTO BY JAY SOLDNER

Principal Cally Dahlstrom stressed the importance of an event like Literacy Night for a school like OLU.

Many of the school’s parents speak primarily Spanish and are engaged in demanding jobs, Dahlstrom said.

“But at the same time, it is very important to involve them more and to have more membership in our community,” she added.

Our Lady of Unity Literacy Night, held for the first time at the Boulevard Drive-In Theater in Kansas City, Kansas, was a huge success. Many families and friends from school received literacy resources, played games and watched a movie at this old-fashioned venue. LEAVEN PHOTO BY JAY SOLDNER

Dahlstrom said providing games, information and strategies helps parents help their children when they are having difficulty reading and writing.

“We are really trying to do it and make it as fun as possible so that parents start to learn more and more about how they can support their children at home,” she said.

Parents like Claudia Vazquez-Puebla were grateful for the opportunity to attend Literacy Night.

His son Hugo is currently in eighth grade and his two other sons, now in university, also attended primary school.

“Having access to different books is important not only for the growth of children academically,” she said, “but also for this bond between parents and children.

“My two are in college and have yet to do book reports or research. It is an ongoing skill that you must develop.

Our Lady of Unity students play tetherball in front of the drive-in movie screen. LEAVEN PHOTO BY JAY SOLDNER

Vazquez-Puebla recently joined the school’s sales team, which is a product of the Archdiocesan Academic Advancement Program (SAP).

“I really appreciate that other communities want to help this community,” she said, “and I want to be a part of this opportunity.”

Nine schools are currently participating in SAP, said Michael Morrisey, who helps run the program with his wife Patty.

“The Academic Advancement program was developed in response to the Catholic education landscape in which enrollments are declining and costs continue to rise, particularly in rural and urban areas,” Morrisey said.

Men and women with a variety of skills, such as finance, marketing, and technology, work with the pastor and school principal to help the school thrive through fundraising efforts and management. registrations.

“In a few cases, in our opinion, without the SAP, the doors to schools don’t stay open,” Morrisey said.

“All SAP schools are evolving on the business side of their school operation, complementing their spirituality and academic excellence. [and] allowing both short and long term sustainability to become a possible reality, ”he continued.

Children watch a video presentation about the Our Lady of Unity school before the film begins. Organizers hoped the event would promote literacy and raise awareness of the education OLU has to offer. LEAVEN PHOTO BY JAY SOLDNER

Most of the planning for Literacy Night was done by a committee of teachers, but the sales team helped with the marketing and sent each car home with a brochure to get more families to sign up. their children at the OLU.

The team is also responsible for organizing “Hog and Grog,” the school’s annual fundraiser, and has helped raise funds through several grants.

Their support is essential for the 99% of OLU students who can only attend school through scholarships, said Dahlstrom, who hopes the school will continue to grow.

“I am convinced that as a school community we have to be a family and support each other,” she said.

To learn more about SAP, click here. To get involved, email Michael Morrisey at: [email protected]

About Shirley L. Kreger

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