Eighth Graders at Grass Lake School Support Classmate Through Kindness Event
Springtime in schools for eighth graders brings the anticipation of the end- of- the- year activities such as: the end of the year dances, parties, the wrapping up of a year's worth of studies and graduation. For one eighth grader at Grass Lake School, a different item was on his list of things to anticipate- spinal surgery for scoliosis that was the result of a condition called Ehler Danlos Syndrome. This disease has been a part of Anthony Dunning for as long as he can remember. Classmate Blake Puetz shared, "My perspective has changed because I did not know how much pain he was in and how bad the situation was."
Classmates were made aware of Anthony's surgery as well as the time frame. Not only did they grasp the severity of the surgery but they learned about the post-surgery recovery that comes with this type of surgery. A few classmates decided to host a party for him and by raising funds to purchase items to keep him engaged and not focused on pain and boredom. Eighth grader Keyshawn Wilson wanted, "his best friend to have a good life, be what he wants, and help him improve his attitude about his surgery." They reached out to the community and asked for donations of donuts and cookies which they then used to raise money for getting Anthony some video games, art supplies and computer accessories. The students recognized that not all families could afford to make a donation so they made sure all students got a treat no matter what the circumstances.
Local businesses were very generous and donations were collected from The Latte Cafe, Dunkin Donuts, Jewel-Osco and Lovin Oven Bakery in Antioch, as well as Riverside Bakery in McHenry. The staff at Grass Lake also made donations for this cause. Kindness rippled and the manager at the Dunkin Donuts arranged for tip jars to be included in the collection to support the "Anthony Project". Upon reflecting on the event and its result, Kayden Garcia said, " I think that more people should help the way we did."
The party took place days before his surgery and the kindness and empathy of eighth graders was felt by Anthony. The giving was generous and $750 was collected. Anthony's mom, Jessica Dunning was equally impacted and commented, " This was so sweet, we've been going through this for a long time and we never had anybody do anything like this. We have been grateful for Grass Lake School. This was pretty awesome!" Anthony has had his surgery, it was successful and he is now recovering with the support of his family, his school, his friends, and his community. Kindness has no boundaries-