Supporting Students Through Buttons, Popcorn, & Friendship

Students who often eat lunch indoors have likely, at some point, caught sight of the two tables set up by the entrance of the cafeteria during Friday lunch periods. One of the tables carries a popcorn machine, and the other displays a collection of various pinback buttons. These two stands are run by the appropriately named Popcorn Club and Button Club, both school-based organizations that turn all their profits toward funding Strawberry Crest’s ESE (Exceptional Student Education) programs. These services help students with disabilities succeed in school and prepare for what comes afterward. Resources from the Florida Department of Education’s website state, “ESE services include specially designed instruction to meet the unique needs of the child.”

According to the club sponsor of the Popcorn Club, Button Club, and Crest Buddies Club, Mrs. Kornegay, the clubs’ purpose “is to teach employability skills to students with disabilities” and to “allow for our students with disabilities to have multiple opportunities to learn work skills, social skills, and independence.”

Members of the Popcorn Club use a fun and effective strategy to raise money and support for the school’s ESE programs: selling cartons of popcorn at lunch every Friday, thereby making connections with their fellow students while also bringing attention to their cause. The Button Club is also able to accomplish the same effect by selling customizable pinback buttons to students, adding a touch of ingenuity and personalization to the movement. According to a button club member, being able to interact with other students is a great part of the experience.

Rasika Selva, a freshman, recently purchased three buttons from the club. When interviewed about her initial thoughts on the initiative and the group, she recounts, “I was like, ‘Hey! That’s very cool.’… But what really inspired me was just the sheer excitement and collaboration between the members…” Rasika bought three buttons, one of which brings awareness to autism. Students can use this unique opportunity to bring attention to causes that are important to them as well.

The Popcorn Club and Button Club are two of three clubs that support the ESE programs at Strawberry Crest. The third, as mentioned before, is Crest Buddies, in which members who are General Education Students partner up with Special Education Students. As a team, they form strong friendships that bridge the divides throughout the school community.

Through the initiatives featured in this article, students in the Popcorn Club, Button Club, and Crest Buddies Club have all learned how to utilize creativity to raise awareness and advocacy for a good, meaningful cause, a cause that is now supported by students who wear their purchased apparel across the school. Through items as simple as buttons, popcorn, and friendship, Strawberry Crest can continue to stand in solidarity, showing support for all parts of the school community, whether big or small.

 

Sources

Solodev. “Exceptional Student Education.” Florida Department of Education, https://www.fldoe.org/academics/exceptional-student-edu/index.stml/pub-home.asp. Accessed 25 Sept. 2021.