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Giving Thanks to Katherine Gooding

The students spent one week learning about Katherine Gooding and the legacy she left behind. It was important for the students to learn about who Katherine was and what she stood for as she is a great inspiration for them.

After learning about Katherine and the Service Day that the AYTEF staff participated in in 2021, the students brainstormed service projects for them to develop this year. The students reflected back on their time spent on collecting and donating perishable food items for MUST Ministries last year to help come up with a new idea for this year's service project.

To learn more about Katherine through a first-hand perspective, we invited in Erica Zabkar, a board member of AYTEF. She talked to the students and answered their burning questions regarding Katherine and the work she did. They learned that after her passing, her parents started a Memorial Fund in her honor and chose to donate money to AYTEF in her honor. They recognized their experience at AYTEF is hugely thanks to the Goodings. To show their appreciation the students wrote thank you notes to the Goodings.

However, their thanks did not stop there. We engaged in a project where we created a mural in Katherine's honor with her favorite quote and flower. The students picked quotes that resonates with them and wrote them on the sunflower petals. They stamped their finger prints as part of the flower seeds as a promise that they will continue to honor Katherine's favorite quote and the quotes they picked themselves.

As a final effort to give back to the Goodings, the AYTEF staff, specifically our new Academic Assistant, Julian, created a sunflower pumpkin to submit into our annual pumpkin painting and carving contest. At our October Block Party, the students and staff presented these gifts to the Goodings and it was all worth the while to see their genuine reactions to our work. Although nothing will amount to the support the Goodings have provided to AYTEF, we hope that these gifts can begin to show our deep appreciation.

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