The students raised more than $1,400 as part of their annual “mitzvah” project and presented a check to Laura Gilkey on March 25. They also showed her the loquat fruit tree they planted in the school’s “Remember Me Orchard,” in memory of her son’s legacy.
(April 15, 2022; Sarasota, FL) “I’m feeling really good and really proud, because I’ve never done anything like this. I’m young, but it’s special to do something so big,” said Sophie L, a third-grade student at Community Day School. Sophie and 15 of her third-grade classmates raised $1,400 to support the Benjamin Gilkey Fund for Innovative Pediatric Cancer Research, an initiative of the Johns Hopkins All Children’s Foundation Family. The class presented a check on March 25 to Laura Gilkey, the mother of Benjamin Wilson Gilkey, who lost his battle to pediatric cancer when he was nine years old—also a third grader. The Benjamin Gilkey Foundation for Pediatric Cancer research was started shortly after Benjamin died in 2017 and exists to fuel the passions of investigative physician researchers within the Johns Hopkins All Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Institute. The Community Day School students also showed Gilkey the loquat fruit tree they planted in the school’s “Remember Me Orchard,” in memory of Benjamin’s legacy.
Dan Ceaser, head of school, explains that, throughout the year, classrooms research and choose a service-learning or “mitzvah” project. “Through service learning and our social-emotional learning program based on empathy and compassion, Community Day students practice the value of ‘Tikkun Olam’ or improving the world. Our third-grade students wanted to help children with cancer and focused their efforts on supporting The Benjamin Gilkey Fund through a bake sale they coordinated,” he says. “Students spent hours making and selling baked goods and Benjamin the Brave decals at this year’s Jogathon in February, with 100 percent of their proceeds supporting the cause.”
The mission of the Hershorin Schiff Community Day School, which serves students in preschool through eighth grade, is to impact the world by creating a community where children of all faiths demonstrate integrity, academic excellence, and a desire to improve the world. Community Day offers a rigorous, project-based academic program in a diverse and vibrant learning environment rooted in the Jewish values of honesty, integrity, mutual trust and respect. For more information, visit communityday.org or call (941) 552-2770.