Windham – Community pride is one of those things. It can sit latent, seemingly at rest until threatened. Then it rises up and takes action, inspiring everyone else to take part.
Look around town. See the new banners fluttering in the breeze? Historical photographs and images emblazoned with the words, EDUCATION, FAMILY, TRADITION and PRIDE line up like sentinels along Center, Main, School and Bauer streets, inspiring citizens to stand a little straighter and walk a little taller.
This was not the result of some administrator’s executive order. This was a grassroots effort spearheaded by local students.
According to Stephanie Parish, social studies teacher at Windham Junior High School, “Last spring the Windham park was vandalized. The students were upset so we organized an after school clean-up. During the clean-up, they decided to do a community make-over. They began painting signs throughout the town, gardening, picking up trash and collecting donations for street banners.”
One thing led to the other, and soon students involved in Political History Club raised donations, especially the current ninth grade class. They used social media to help spread the word, and from there people sent money to the school. Students raised around $1,300 to get a variety of banners designed. The students voted on the words they believed were most important — education, family, tradition, pride — to accent the historical photos, which were obtained from the Windham Historical Society and the Portage County Library.
Representatives from Akron company Power Media met with Parish and her students, who shared their ideas. They knew they wanted the banners to represent Windham, and once they decided on photos and key terms, the company’s design team brought it all together with 14 banners to date. “We are still collecting donations and hoping to buy more,” Parish says.
The students who have participated in this project have gained a new appreciation for their community, and their place in it. “The banners display pride and demonstrate all the positive things going on in Windham,” says ninth grader Hunter Shackelford. “The words education, pride, tradition and family really summarize what it means to be a Windham Bomber.”
“I am really proud of all the students and the entire community,” adds ninth grader Mackenzie McLean. “The banners look so nice and I am excited for the other communities to come to Windham and see them displayed.”
Parish couldn’t be more pleased. “I am so impressed with the students, donors and community. The banners really look nice and the kids did an awesome job! There are great things going on in the schools and these students are really making an impact. It has provided them with a sense of ownership and a sense of pride for their community. This is what being a Windham Bomber is all about — coming together and making things better. These students have bright futures and I am excited for our tomorrows with them leading the way!”
If anyone would like to contribute to this ongoing effort to spread community pride by purchasing Windham Bomber street banners, contact Ms. Parish at sparish@Windham-schools.org or by calling the school phone number: (330) 326-2711.