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Cross Creek Student Helps the Homeless with Holiday Tunes

Spreading holiday cheer with joyful tunes and making a difference in the community go hand-in-hand for one student at Cross Creek Charter Academy.

Luanne Barnes, music teacher at Cross Creek, had assigned fourth-grade students one recorder song a week to learn and turn in as a video assignment. This assignment sparked an idea in the mind of Oliver Potts, fourth-grade student at Cross Creek. During December, one song assignment was "Jingle Bells,” and Oliver took initiative to learn "Carol of the Bells" on his own.
Oliver and his two neighbor friends, Chance and Leeson Estep, stood on their street corner playing "Jingle Bells," "Carol of the Bells," and "The Nutcracker" for people as they walked by. Spreading holiday cheer didn’t stop in their neighborhood. Oliver and his friends are collecting donations to give to Mel Trotter Ministries. ​​​​​​​

Mel Trotter Ministries exists to demonstrate the compassion of Jesus Christ, through rescue and restoration for anyone experiencing hunger and homelessness. Donations go toward meals for hungry neighbors, shelter for those experiencing homelessness, and fresh starts for hurting people in our community with faith-based programs, recovery services, and workforce development opportunities.

Originally, the three were playing music to spread holiday cheer, but when people started handing them money, they decided to donate it instead of keeping it for themselves. They chose Mel Trotter Ministries because they wanted to give the money to help the homeless, especially during the winter months.

“I am extremely proud of Oliver and his friends’ compassion for others. It is so important for kids to practice showing love to others in their community,” said Mrs. Megan Potts, Oliver’s mom. “These boys have also shoveled driveways for our neighbors and helped return a lost dog. I love seeing the joy they get from helping others.” ​​​​​​​
Acts of kindness such as this reflect National Heritage Academies’ Moral Focus curriculum, which aims to teach the whole student, heart and mind included. Mrs. Potts believes the Moral Focus curriculum makes a difference in students, inside and outside of the classroom. “Having a Moral Focus virtue each month as part of the curriculum teaches students so much,” she said. “Not only does it reinforce the lessons we are trying to teach our children at home, but it gives them the opportunity to discuss with peers and live it out in the classroom. I love that these lessons are repeated each year and grow with them!” 

Barnes was surprised and truly amazed when Oliver told her what he was doing. “I felt so happy and proud. The idea was completely his,” she said. “It made me think about how we teach a Moral Focus curriculum, and we model and expect certain behaviors every day, but that is just planting the seed. It was wonderful to see a student living this out and putting it into action outside of school in a way that would impact others in the world around him.”

The three continue to work toward their goal of $200. So far, they have raised $162 with their recorder-made tunes. Check out Oliver and his friends playing here.