Liberty Bell students welcome special guest

Liberty Bell students listen to Sarah Collier during her special visit to the school last Thursday. Collier turned 106 years old earlier this year and shared her experiences with the students. Photo By Dave Ongie

By Dave Ongie, Managing Editor

Collier answers a question from one of the students. Photo By Dave Ongie

Earlier this year, students at Liberty Bell Middle School took some time to write birthday cards to Johnson City resident Sarah Collier, who was turning 106 years old.

That random act of kindness was returned last Thursday afternoon when Collier paid a visit to Liberty Bell to meet the students who wished her a happy birthday. Collier gathered with the students in the outdoor plaza area and answered their questions.

Liberty Bell eighth-grade teacher Haley Reynolds, who spearheaded the effort, said it was gratifying to see the conversation unfold.

“It was so inspiring to see two generations come together and discuss important topics like school, family, music, and history,” Reynolds said.

When Collier asked to come visit, the preparation began. Students read articles written about Collier on her 106th birthday – including a front-page story in the News & Neighbor – and used that research to formulate questions to ask Collier about her life. Reynolds said the exercise required students to focus on their writing, grammar and speaking skills, but ultimately, the learning went well beyond classroom skills.

“This task required students to demonstrate kindness, empathy, and compassion,” Reynolds said. “In fact, it is the students’ great effort and participation that made this experience so enjoyable. This is a visit that we will never forget. I am very proud of my students.

“I hope they have learned that no random act of kindness is too small.”


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