Wild Horse Elementary
is one of three schools in the St. Louis area to be named a Champion for Character by CharacterPlus in conjunction with Cardinals Care, the St. Louis Cardinals Community Fund.
The Champions for Character program recognizes schools that have a community-wide ethos of service learning. As one of this year's recipients, Wild Horse will receive a banner in an on-field ceremony at Busch Stadium at a Cardinals game next May, along with 200 free tickets to the game.
"It's a huge accomplishment," Wild Horse Principal Dr. Shawn Riley said. "Our staff would do these things whether they were going to be recognized or not. It's a nice way to say thank you to all of our teachers and staff members who put these things above and beyond what they are doing inside the classroom."
In the school's Champions for Character application, Riley highlighted Wild Horse's service-learning efforts for the 2019-2020 school year, which followed a guiding question – "How are we stronger when we can count on each other?" – with different emphases for each quarter.
The first quarter was "I can count on myself," followed by "You can count on me," and "We can count on each other." The final quarter of the year was "The community can count on us," but Wild Horse's planned community service projects were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Riley said that, in addition to leadership from staff members, Wild Horse's students have been active participants in conceiving character education and service-learning opportunities. This past school year, for example, a group of third-graders volunteered to spend recess periods picking up trash by the school playground.
"We got them gloves and a big bag, and they filled it up," Riley said. "Students come to us with ideas on how to make our community and school better. This application was a love letter to the students and staff who spend so much time dedicated to making sure that we are helping to build quality people and not just quality students."