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Making the World a Little Better Every Day

Posted By Ibrahim Ahmed '17, Friday, December 9, 2016

“What are you grateful for?” “What did you do today to make the world a better place?” These are questions that, for as long as I can remember, have been discussed regularly when our family sits down for dinner at home. Avery Coonley’s supportive and encouraging environment are parts of my life that I will always be grateful for, and being at ACS has given me many chances to do my small part to make the world just a little bit better every day.

Whether it’s sleeping outside on a cold winter
night or using our own spending money for a donation, ACS always has
something going on to inspire its students to make a change in our community. While several amazing fundraisers and projects have made a lasting impact on ACS for several years, there are new opportunities rolling through for everyone to help make a difference, one being Bridge Communities’ Sleep Out Saturday. When we first heard about the program, my brother and I met with Mrs. Lenhardt to see if we could bring it to ACS. She worked to get the project approved by the administration, and the newest Avery Coonley tradition was underway! I look back at how empowered our early years at ACS must have been to give us the confidence to approach our Middle School Head – when we were 10 and 12 years old – to ask if we could take on such a huge project. We were amazed that so many adults on campus enthusiastically supported the idea and worked with us to make it a reality. We couldn’t believe that teachers, staff, and even Mr. D. signed up to sleep outside!  

 Three years later, we have just wrapped up the third annual Sleep Out. I can honestly say that the drive and enthusiasm shown by the whole ACS community has truly helped the event to thrive for the past three years. Teachers and staff have encouraged the cause and generously donated alongside the students in order to make the whole project a success. Younger students have volunteered to take on the job of organizing future sleep out events so that this new tradition stays alive once the original organizers graduate.

 Seeing the whole community come together in such away has been inspiring. But is not at all surprising from the school that values thinking about things bigger than ourselves. What I have seen in the success of Sleep Out Saturday is simply a continuation of what the students, parents, faculty, and staff do all the time. Each year, it takes the Student Council a whole day to sort and pack all of the Ronald McDonald House donations. The Thanksgiving Program – an 86-year-old tradition that is central to my ACS experience – helps to provide warm meals to those in need through the work of the Salvation Army. The Mitten Tree overflows with donations and shows no green through the countless coats, gloves, hats, and scarves, all given to help less fortunate children stay warm throughout a cold winter.

 Through these and so many more projects that are both inspiring and unifying, ACS establishes itself as a community of giving, caring, and empathetic people. While many of us come to the school for the academics, we all graduate enriched by the traditions, the sense of community and gratitude, and the ability to see the many opportunities that we have to make a positive difference.

 I hope that future Seahorses will always step onto this beautiful campus every morning and ask themselves, “What am I grateful for?” “What can I do today to make the world a better place?” I am confident that ACS, and all of us within this wonderful school community, will continue to support and encourage their answers to these critical questions.

~Ibrahim Ahmed, ACS Class of 2017

Tags:  Empathy  Gratitude  Service  Volunteerism 

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