2015-12-05 / The Bullhorn

Bulldogs Care puts ‘community’ in Roxboro Community School


RCS students Imani Winstead and Kayleigh Gentry made Christmas cards to send to Bethel Hill Charter School students for their Bulldogs Care project. RCS students Imani Winstead and Kayleigh Gentry made Christmas cards to send to Bethel Hill Charter School students for their Bulldogs Care project. Roxboro Community School (RCS) planned four community service days into its schedule this year. This initiative allows students and teachers to design and implement programs that will benefit the Person County community, and gives RCS students an opportunity to join together service and learning. Each of the four days is focused on a certain theme: health, literacy, environment and hunger.

This past Wednesday, the focus was literacy, and RCS students reached out to both young and old.

High school English teacher Stacey Whitlow has been a driving force behind Bulldogs Care.

She explained, “Last year when RCS started discussing the schedule changes to our calendar to add four three-hour chunks of time for community days, there was no plan about what that would look like. I left that faculty meeting and, fortuitously, went to a school dinner with my son and daughter. It was a night focused on fellowship and making a difference in the community. Their school, like several across the nation, has a care night where they select a service project and work together to make a huge difference. Bulldogs Care was born that night.”


On Bulldogs Care Day this week, Tristan Bradsher and David Tuck helped out at the Person County Public Library by shelving books. On Bulldogs Care Day this week, Tristan Bradsher and David Tuck helped out at the Person County Public Library by shelving books. Whitlow continued, “The idea that service learning and community work could be embraced by a school for more than just one night took root. The simplicity of a whole school focused on making a huge difference together became the ultimate goal.

“The idea that over 700 students could work together to affect huge change in our community was inspiring enough to create the foundation for our whole Bulldogs Care Program this year,” Whitlow added. “With the help of a tireless Bulldogs Care team, our dedicated teachers and staff, and an enthusiastic body of students, we have managed to make a huge difference during the last two community days. People are starting to notice, and we will only get stronger as the program grows and evolves. It has been a learning process, a logistical puzzle, and a leap of faith, but the outcomes have been nothing short of awe-inspiring.”


Dillon Weaver reads to Oak Lane Elementary School students during Bulldogs Care Day on Wednesday. Dillon Weaver reads to Oak Lane Elementary School students during Bulldogs Care Day on Wednesday. High school Principal Darkarai Bryant said, “Our students are gaining valuable insight into the value of giving back to their community through this series of service learning projects. The response from the community in favor of our Bulldogs Care program has been positive. I am proud of our kids and our staff for their efforts in making this a great initiative.”


RCS student and basketball standout Elana Ingram reads to Stories Creek Elementary School students on Bulldogs Care Day. RCS student and basketball standout Elana Ingram reads to Stories Creek Elementary School students on Bulldogs Care Day. According to middle school Principal Donna Ingram, “To truly be a community school, RCS students and staff must take advantage of opportunities that allow them to give back to the community that gives us so much support. Bulldogs Care Days provide a wonderful opportunity for students to take what they are learning in the classroom out into the community through service learning projects. During this time students learn about the community and at the same time show that they care by investing in the community. I am proud of our staff, students, parents and community agencies for making this possible.”

The RCS Book Drive collected over 250 books to distribute to children throughout the area. The art classes also finished over 16 custom suitcases (with special gifts) for foster children throughout the area.

Whitlow commended the middle school book club, the art clubs and their advisors, Anita Swanik and Anne Bettendorf.

RCS senior Kayla Walker said, “For our literacy community day, I went to Oak Lane Elementary to read to kindergarteners and dance for them. Being a senior at RCS, I realize that it is important to know what I want to do in life. I would like to pursue a career in elementary education. This gave me a taste of what that will be like because I was able to interact with a small group of children. Visiting Oak Lane was a positive experience and has inspired me to stay committed to my goal of becoming a teacher.”

Dance teacher Teresa Coleman said, “Fifty-three RCS students went to Oak Lane Elementary School to share literacy through books and dance. High school students went into [kindergarten through fourth-grade] classrooms at Oak Lane and read to small groups of children. After the stories were shared, everyone gathered in the multipurpose room to watch RCS dance students perform student choreographed dances inspired by traditional Christmas books. After the performance, everyone joined together to learn ‘The Santa Shuffle’ and dance together.

Coleman continued, “It was a successful afternoon that led to comments such as, ‘Can we do that again?’ and, ‘When can y’all come back?’ This group offers a special thanks to Brett Carver and Amy Edlund for providing transportation with the East Rock Community Church van and to Melinda Blanks, a parent volunteer who drove students in her car.”

Theater and chorus teacher Christine Morgan said, “My caroling students left in tears at the realization of what an impact this had on the residents (of Touch of Love and Cambridge

Hills Assisted Living) and how very alone some of them truly are. It was a very special opportunity that they will take with them forever.”

Psychology teacher Kathy Oakley went with a group of students to Generations Adult Day Care. She said, “We had a great experience at Generations. The students were a little hesitant at first, but then they jumped right in and did an excellent job. I think this was a great community service project and learning experience for” the students, she said.

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