School-wide Celebrations Feature Student Work Accomplished Through PHLF’s “Building Pride/Building Character” EITC Program
Thanks to contributions from nine corporate sponsors and two foundations in 2016-17, PHLF was able to involve students in grades three through eight from ten Pittsburgh Public Schools in a variety of field trips, art activities, and in-school programs from January 13 through June 8.
On May 25, during school-wide celebrations for families, fifth-grade students from Pittsburgh Beechwood and Pittsburgh Whittier read essays they had written describing why their school was worthy of a Historic Landmark Plaque. These essays had, in fact, confirmed earlier recommendations by PHLF’s Historic Plaque Designation Committee to award plaques to each school. After the students read their essays in auditoriums packed with family members, they presented the plaques to their principals. Valerie Lucas, principal of Pittsburgh Whittier, and Sally Rifugiato, principal of Pittsburgh Beechwood, were thrilled.
PHLF’s Executive Director, Louise Sturgess, attended both celebrations and emphasized that the plaques do not place any restrictions on the Pittsburgh Public Schools. Rather, the goal of PHLF’s Historic Landmark plaque program is to recognize places of architectural significance, identify the architect and design/construction dates, and foster a preservation ethic among the people who use the landmark.
The evening celebrations at Pittsburgh Beechwood and Pittsburgh Whittier also showcased poems, artwork, and three-dimensional models of Pittsburgh landmarks that students had created during PHLF”s “Building Pride/Building Character” program. See photos in the gallery below.
Through tours, art activities, and in-school programs created for the “Building Pride/Building Character” program, students learn about the places and elements that give character to their city––and the more they learn about Pittsburgh, the more “connected” and proud they feel.
As students explore, observe, discuss, and create, they realize that their city is a work in progress. There is always something new being constructed, or something old of value being restored or reused.
They begin to understand that they are works in progress, too. They are growing up and growing older, just as our city is. The older students become, the more “character” they develop. Character is who you are––and who other people think you are. And people, just like cities, are most fascinating when they are full of character-defining traits.
Through “Building Pride/Building Character,” students discover a lot about their school, neighborhood, and city––and a lot about themselves––and fulfill academic standards in the process.