Stadium Drive Elementary School was filled with buckets last week as students got a quick lesson in what it means to be a bucket filler. The program was brought to the school through the donations of former Stadium Drive student, Dr. Jim Chengelis.
"Dr. Chengelis has always stressed doing nice things for others," said Stadium Drive Principal Jim Goske. "He wanted to sponsor a program and the Bucketfillers for Life was perfect."
The doctor's donation enabled the school to purchase "Bucket Fillers" T-shirts for all the students and staff. It also enabled the school to bring in a special guest, Carol Hamilton from Bucketfillers for Life, Inc. to put on a special assembly.
Photos by J.T. Whitehouse, Town Crier
Carol Hamilton from Bucketfillers for Life, Inc. demonstrates with Stadium Drive fourth-grader Rami Mousa how filling a bucket with good thoughts and deeds can give a person a good feeling and help others fill their own buckets.
Hamilton gave a brief history of how the organization formed. The idea of bucket fillers actually began with the late Dr. Donald O. Clifton, who tried to send the message of filling other people's buckets with kindness and caring, and in return, get one's own bucket filled with the good feelings it spawned.
Hamilton said that concept was picked up by Merrill H. Lundgren, who created a program for adults and children. Because of his efforts, he is now referred to as "The Bucket Man" a name he received seven years ago by middle-school students in his first school program. She said Merrill is now age 92, but continues to give presentations in schools.
"We do hundreds of assemblies in schools across the country," Hamilton said. "Sometimes children don't realize they are being bullies. If we can get to them at a young age, when they grow older, they will be more pleasant to be around."
While Hamilton gave a presentation to the entire school Thursday morning, Sept. 6, she did stay a little longer to focus on one group -- the fourth grade.
"This goes along with a talk I had with fourth-graders on how the younger kids look up to them as role models," said Goske.
As an exercise for the fourth-grade classes, Hamilton had them write down nice things about a person in their life. Some wrote about a parent, others about a classmate or close friend. Some shared their list with classmates. Hamilton then gave out a response sheet and asked each student to take their list to the person they were writing about, read it to them, then have them fill the form out. She said sharing the thoughts helps the person feel good, and offers satisfaction to the person sharing also.
"Everyone has an invisible bucket full of feelings," Hamilton told students. "By saying and doing nice things for others, we fill their bucket and our own [with good feelings]."
The program not only covered the children, but the staff as well. Hamilton had visited the school during an in-service day and talked with the staff. Goske said as part of their homework, they visited nursing homes and took baked goods to the fire and police departments as a way to do a lot of bucket filling.
Goske said, in the end, the program that Dr. Chengelis made possible will help turn the Stadium Drive students into more caring and thoughtful individuals.
"Our program likes to focus on the positive, not the negative," Hamilton said.