Students step up with pep

This past Saturday was Pepperdine University’s annual Step Forward Day. As they have each year for the nine years I have been at Webster, a busload of more than 50 Pepperdine students arrived in the morning eager to volunteer their labor to our school. For the next 2-1/2 hours, they enthusiastically weeded, raked, cultivated, planted, swept, painted, washed tables, moved furniture, shelved books and picked up litter. Webster families and teachers were inspired to join the effort. The result was a dramatic transformation in the appearance of our school.

Even more important than the impact on the premises is the statement being made by these students and the university. Pepperdine University and each of the hundreds of students who volunteered to work at many varied locations on this Saturday morning demonstrated by their example what it means to become involved in their community.

We have increased our emphasis on character education at Webster for all of our students. We place a schoolwide focus each month on one of the six pillars of the Character Counts program: Respect, Trustworthiness, Caring, Responsibility, Fairness, and Citizenship. Most of our teachers involve their classes in a service learning project sometime during the year. Our PTA sponsors schoolwide campaigns on behalf of such organizations as Goodwill Industries and Children Helping Poor and Helpless People. We want our students to experience the feeling of contributing to their community and helping other people. We believe that there is a great deal to be learned from these experiences that cannot be learned within the classroom walls.

I want to thank each and every one of the Pepperdine students who worked at Webster last Saturday. I thank you for your labor and especially for the wonderful example you have given our elementary students and their families. Our hope is that they become, as you are, committed citizens of their community, of our country, and of our planet.

Phil Cott

principal, Webster Elementary School

The Malibu Times is the first newspaper in Malibu, serving the community since 1946.

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