Last Updated: 1/11/2019 7:43 PM

Van Wert Elementary’s fourth grade students learned an important lesson in kindness before school let out for the summer. Students read the book Wonder by R.J. Palacio, a story based loosely on the author’s personal experience about a disfigured little boy with an inner beauty. After reading the book, students designed logos in art class that captured the essence of what the book meant to them. Styletees, a Van Wert-based clothing company, printed the winning logo on 50 t-shirts and then donated the profits back to the students. The fourth graders were then tasked with deciding what to do with that money. They broke into groups to research a variety of charitable organizations and presented their findings to their classmates. After a group vote, it was decided that the money would be given to Operation Smile, an international medical charity that has provided hundreds of thousands of free surgeries for children and young adults in developing countries who are born with cleft lip, cleft palate or other facial deformities. The students not only learned classroom lessons in comprehension and vocabulary but also took away life lessons of courage, acceptance, and teamwork.