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Ralph Chandler Middle sells buttons to support the Ukraine

Published: Mar. 29, 2022 at 6:03 PM EDT
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SIMPSONVILLE, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - Ralph Chandler Middle Schools is selling buttons to fundraise for those in need in Ukraine.

The buttons are decorated with the country’s flag colors with little symbols of hope.

Teachers say it helps students make connections outside of the classroom

Olivia Marseil is an eighth-grader.

“It’s really sad to think that other people in another country, they’re scared for their lives,” Marseil said, “And we’re just here going about our normal days.”

Students started asking, “What can we do?” Teacher Sarah Evanson-Atkinson got involved as well as their media specialist.

“The students were very interested in addressing the needs—specifically of women and children,” Evanson said, “And so, we feel like UNICEF is doing that, on the border.”

They’re donating the proceeds from selling buttons. Between that and donations, Evanson says they’ve raised over a grand already. And for her, it’s personal.

“I am 100% Ukrainian,” Evanson continues, “It’s difficult to watch that struggle. And so, I really feel like this was an opportunity for us to get involved; even if it’s in a small way.”

Plus, the sales are tied to what they’re learning. Seventh-grade social studies teacher Joseph Miles says he was wrapping up teaching the unit on Ukraine and Russia when the conflicts started. He teaches geography of the world.

“We use a lot of photo analysis, and video analysis, first-hand primary documents; so, the kids are really able to make that connection and feel what the picture and video is trying to say to them,” Miles said.

Evanson also set up a display with clothing from when she was younger. She put them there to give students an idea of culture. And seeing kid’s clothes makes the issues in the Ukraine tangible for students.

“It’s not just learning the facts, taking a test, and then dumping it out. It’s like, ‘Oh my God.’ This is real, world learning. This is what’s happening, right now, as we live as teenagers,” said Miles.

Miles is proud of his students. He says some of them show up and donate snack and piggy bank money without receiving the button.

“They have blown my mind with it,” Miles said.

Marseil says it’s working. And she feels like she’s making a difference.

“A lot of people are buying buttons,” Marseil said, “And it’s sparking a lot of conversations about what’s going on in the Ukraine, which I think is really important.”

Button sales started around Spring break and will continue until Apr. 15. They’re sold during lunchtime if you’re interested.