Type to search


A lesson in listening


Sometimes it’s hard to be heard when you are in fifth-grade. Sometimes a class assignment can just float right over your head. And then it happens. The stars shine bright, the planets align and what you’re being taught actually strikes a chord which encourages you to think about ways to change the world.

Notre Dame Academy middle school students make blankets for shelter animals. The project was the dream of a fifth-grader at the South Buffalo school, which was inspired by a Martin Luther King Jr. essay. (Photo courtesy of Notre Dame Academy)

That is exactly what happened with one of the students at Notre Dame Academy after completing a lesson on Martin Luther King Jr.  As an assignment the fifth-grade class was asked to make a list of things they could do to change the world. And the sentence read: “I would like to make blankets and take care of the animals.”

Sometimes it IS hard to be heard when you are in fifth-grade, but Jenniffer Maslakowski, the principal at Notre Dame Academy, a Catholic elementary school in South Buffalo has very good hearing.

“When I walk down the halls of the school, I stop and I look at all the work that is displayed,” comments Maslakowski.

“In our fifth-grade corridor, I came across the assignment on Martin Luther King Jr. In reading them, I saw that students wanted to do something that was obtainable, and I knew I had to make it happen,” continues Maslakowski.

“I saw an opportunity, not only to do something for our community, but to show our students that with a little work, they can create changes in the world. I quickly contacted Stephanie Behr who is a Girl Scout Troop leader at Notre Dame Academy. I know her troop recently completed making blankets.”

Within a matter of a few days, Maslakowski secured the help of Girl Scout Troop 34213. Leaders in that troop donated $900 in fabric and precut the material so it was ready for the students to assemble.

This student found the perfect blanket to let shelter dogs know they are cared for. (Photo courtesy of Notre Dame Academy)

“Our Girl Scout troop and their families all pitched in to help with the blankets,” commented Behr. “It was a great team effort. We have an amazing troop of girls who love doing great things in our community.”

“I was overwhelmed by our amazing parents at Notre Dame Academy, and how quickly they stepped up and bought the material, precut the material, and pre-tied over 100 blankets all for our students to finish as a service project during Catholic Schools Week,” said Maslakowski.

Notre Dame Academy will donate 166 blankets to our four-legged friends at the SPCA, Buffalo Animal Shelter and the 10 Lives Club.

In Proverbs 12:10 we read “A righteous man cares for the needs of his animal.” And in South Buffalo, we learned a principal can invoke change by listening to the words of their students.

For more information on Notre Dame Academy, go to http://www.NotreDameBuffalo.org check the Facebook page or give us a call at 716-824-0726. Registration is open and forms are online at Registration — Notre Dame Academy (notredamebuffalo.org)