Lemonade for literacy

Sawyer first-graders earn money to help others

Gavin Arntt, a first-grader at K.I. Sawyer Elementary, helps make lemonade along with his classmates Tuesday at the school. Proceeds from the lemonade sales were to go toward books for area families. (Journal photo by Christie Bleck)

K.I. SAWYER — Who would think a lemonade stand would be popular on the first day of significant snowfall in the area?

That happened Tuesday at K.I. Sawyer Elementary School.

Teacher Whitney Buchan’s first-grade class was responsible for the surge in lemonade popularity that day.

“I posed a question to them, and I said, ‘How can we make the world better?'” Buchan said.

Her students came up with the plan to hold a “lemonade stand” at school, deciding they wanted to donate money to families in need and to provide them with books at home.

“They did research on it and kind of came up with who doesn’t have books, who needs books, what the problem is, where the problem is, and then they decided they wanted to help by having a lemonade sale to raise money to buy books to donate,” Buchan said.

There also was a plan on how to distribute the lemonade.

Each teacher in school was to indicate how many cups would be needed for that class. That information then was passed on to the first-graders.

Various tasks, then, came into play.

“(We) kind of have different groups counting how many we need, counting quarters, mixing lemonade, pouring cups, delivering,” Buchan said. “It’s a whole process.”

Her classroom was a bit chaotic, with students handling the many roles. Still, the lemonade got made — but not without a little guidance.

“The top becomes a scoop,” Buchan said of the lemonade containers.

Even then, it wasn’t just a matter of mixing. The activity had to be performed in a non-messy way.

“Be careful, because when you open it, it’s a powder,” Buchan told them. “I don’t want you to do any spilling.”

That powder, she said, would be mixed with water to make lemonade.

Come to think of it, that probably would have been easier than having the first-graders squeeze lemons.

When it came to filling cups, the students had to make sure there’d be enough for the whole school.

“If we have to sell for the whole school, do you think we should fill all the cups all the way to the top?” Buchan asked them.

Their answer? A resounding “no.”

The event was a success, with a total of $74.75 raised from the lemonade sales.

Buchan said the thinking is that the books will go toward a book drive conducted by the Marquette-Alger Reading Council called the Gift of Reading. Those books, she said, are distributed throughout the community.

First-grader Gavin Arntt realized the significance of the activity.

“We’re donating books so kids have books if they don’t have books,” Gavin said.

Christie Bleck can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250. Her email address is cbleck@miningjournal.net.