Creating Solutions, Not Complaints – Central Elementary Student Inspires Her Community to Improve PE Resources

Posted on 05/08/2018
Creating Solutions, Not Complaints – Central Elementary Student Inspires Her Community to Improve PE Resources

Parents want their kids to be problem solvers, the type of person who doesn’t just point out needs and shortcomings, but the type who actually does something about it. Central Elementary student Scarlett Marolf saw a need in her school and took a proactive approach.

Scarlett and her classmates had been talking about the quality of the basketballs they were using in PE classes and recess. “They were gross,” Scarlett said with a laugh. A classroom project on persuasive speech writing became a platform for change, Scarlett brought attention to the issue through her skillful writing and oration. “I didn’t think it would be so big; I just read my speech.” After her mom posted the speech on Facebook, it inspired her community to make a positive change. “I said that just one new basketball would help.” Within days of the post, not just one, but several new basketballs showed up on her home doorstep and at school. “I just want to help people because it makes me feel good. If you just work hard on something, believe in it, and really care … that can motivate others to (help).”

Marolf’s teacher, Jessica Walleman, was impressed by her abilities. “Scarlett has always pushed herself to accomplish a task or an assignment,” Walleman said. “When we were learning about writing persuasive speeches and making them meaningful, she was a sponge. She soaked up every aspect of what I was teaching in writer’s workshop. She has such a voice when she writes, and students like Scarlett can make such a positive impact in a classroom.”

The impact she made may seem small to outsiders, but the kids inside the school are benefitting from the results. What’s more important than new basketballs, however, is that other kids might mimic her example. “Other kids can learn a great lesson in effort!” Walleman said. “Scarlett has pushed herself to not only meet her goals but to blow right past them. She has also shown that even a kid can make big changes in our world. She understood that we all have a voice. She showed us how to use it in positive ways.”

That’s the trick – acting instead of complaining. “My philosophy has always been,” Walleman said, “if you’re going to complain, you need to be able to offer up a solution. Instead of complaining, come up with a way to make things better.” And that’s just what Scarlett did.

Maybe that’s a lesson we all can learn about life. We’re people, so we love to point out the negative. But do we actually solve the problem? Solutions must begin somewhere, and problems won’t just disappear by ignoring them. The first step is identifying the issue, and talking about solutions. Just like Scarlett.

“Even if you think your words can’t make a difference,” Walleman reminds us, “just remember what this awesome 9-year-old lady did.”

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