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Third-graders learn essential skills while giving back to their community

FORT KENT, Maine — Students in Tamar Philbrook’s Fort Kent Elementary School third grade class enjoyed a sunny day outside of the classroom planting flowers to brighten their community on Friday, June 7.

The students, along with volunteer Fort Kent Community High School softball players, who Philbrook coaches, worked together to transplant into planters a variety of perennial flowers at Pelletier’s Florist, Greenhouse and Garden Center in Fort Kent.

Members of Tamar Philbrook’s Fort Kent Elementary School third grade class and the softball players she coaches participated in a service learning project on Friday, June 7. From left: Santana Saucier and Devin Saucier.
(Jessica Potila)

The planters full of blooming flowers were taken to Crosswinds Residential Care, Forest Hill Skilled Nursing and Rehab Center, Northern Maine Medical Center and some satellite buildings related to the hospital, and the Veteran’s Memorial in the Paradis Shop and Save Plaza.

The students raised more than $800 through a Mother’s Day Raffle to purchase the flowers including daisies, petunias, and marigolds.

Philbrook has included the service learning project in her classroom for 20 years.

“It is definitely important for the kids to give back and just see that no matter what age you are, you can make a difference in a community,” Philbrook said.

The students also spend time with residents of Crosswinds Residential Care through an “Adopt a Grandparent” program, during which they visit with the residents throughout the year.

The flower planting project is a yearlong learning endeavor during which the students prepare for the project with lessons in mathematics and science.

“They had to do all their budgeting and work through multiplication and division problems to figure how much money we had to spend,” Philbrook said.  

The students also learned about the life cycles of all of  the flowers they planted during a prior visit with Craig Morneault, owner of Pelletier’s Florist.

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