This holiday season, Cannon Elementary students and staff have collected more than 1,075 pairs of shoes through a schoolwide community service project with a unique educational tie-in.Through their research, the Cannon cubs discovered that Americans throw away more than 700 million pairs of shoes each year and those shoes end up in the landfills. They also learned that in many lesser-developed nations, children are not allowed to attend school unless they have a school uniform, which sometimes includes shoes.
It was this research that inspired the students and staff to conduct a shoe drive for an organization called Soles4Souls, which distributes shoes to those in need around the world.
“They don’t care if you give them Nike’s or Puma’s or what they look like,” third-grader Caleb Miles said. “They are just going to be excited to get shoes.”
They set an initial goal to collect 350 pairs of shoes by December 19, but they more than tripled that goal well before their deadline. Throughout the collection, fifth-grade students have kept count of the shoes collected by each grade level and graphed the results for the rest of the campus to see.
Additionally, the schoolwide project has expanded into each classroom. Students in all grade levels have participated in either a design challenge or engineering project that involves shoes. There is even a shoe museum on display at Cannon, courtesy of the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History. This museum display has helped students learn about shoe making, how shoes are designed for a variety of uses and about shoes from different cultures.
Cannon Principal Tona Blizzard said she is excited with how many pairs of shoes the students and staff were able to collect and is so proud of their efforts.
“It’s been amazing to see all of our students working together for a common cause and to be so focused on how they can help make a difference for others,” Blizzard said. “It is so important for our kids to have the chance to learn how to give back to the community and to realize that by working together, we can make big things happen."