Super Saints Promotes Athletics, Christian Service

| February 4, 2014

Syracuse Diocese Catholic Schools logoBY DYANN NASHTON

How do you build a children’s program that encourages creative thinking, generosity and physical activity? At Seton All Saints Elementary in Endicott, NY, you launch Super Saints. The new program was the brainchild of a relatively new teacher and grew as an offshoot of a fundraising event.

William Pipher completed his first year of teaching at the school at the end of last year and by then had become oriented to the school’s programs and events. One event was an annual auction where offered up for bid were opportunities for students to spend some time with teachers at various outings. Venues included golf courses or bowling alleys.

It was not uncommon for these activities to be athletic in nature, according to Pipher. He began to consider offering something that promoted the scholar-athlete. “I really wanted to come up with something meaningful,” Pipher said.

The Super Saints program married the best of all worlds during an hour and a half timeframe each Friday for 10 weeks. With the help of fellow faculty member, Rebecca Falank, the students rotated from athletic activities to community service to creative thinking. They could be jumping rope before making cards to brighten the day of the students of a particular classroom and then could be found focusing on the mechanics of building bridges from Popsicle sticks.

It was clear early on that the Super Saints program was going to be a success. Twenty-eight students each bid $60 at the auction to be a part of the program, and it brought in more than $1,500.

The blend of types of activities is the key to its success. The athletic component of Super Saints provided children with a way to burn off some after-school energy while the service component taught them about giving back to their community.

Creative thinking was central to Super Saints and dovetailed with current enthusiasm for the Odyssey of the Mind program. Odyssey of the Mind is an international education program of creative problem solving for students from kindergarten through college. Participants compete at local, state and world levels. Pipher said that Odyssey of the Mind was hugely popular at Seton All Saints with 56 children participating out of an enrollment of 150 students.

At the conclusion of the 10 weeks, Pipher said, “It was more successful than any of us could have imagined it would be.” The possibility of expanding the program to include a Super Saints summer camp experience is being explored. n

Dyann Nashton is a freelance writer based in Oneida, NY.

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Category: Bold Initiatives

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