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Present experience to classmates

By LAURA DUKES

Staff Writer

The word of the week at The Calverton School was “compassion” and two siblings were highlighted for having just that.

Calverton fourth grader Joseline Pretto Simmons and second grader Jeremie Pretto Simmons, both of Chesapeake Beach, were recognized at a lower school assembly Friday for volunteer work they did on a trip to Haiti in June.

Their mother, Nance Pretto Simmons, said their family went for two weeks with the Silver Spring-based group HavServe Volunteer Service Network. While there, she said her children helped with a literacy empowerment program, a soccer team and a music development program.

“I was so proud of them; it was amazing to see how they transformed. They were kind of nervous at first and I think when they left they wanted to take everybody home with them,” Nance said.

At the school assembly, the students showed a YouTube video of some of the pictures from their trip. They also passed around a few items they brought home.

“It was a really good experience. They don’t have a lot, but they’re still really thankful people,” said Joseline, 9, who said the children she met in Haiti seemed very grateful for school and water, even if it meant traveling far for both.

She said her favorite part of the project was introducing the kids to things like Silly String, jump rope, makeup, nail polish and frisbee.

Joseline said the toughest part of the experience was “to see people live in tents and see people not have food.”

While in Haiti, Joseline also said she read books to children and asked them if they enjoyed what she had just read.

“Whoever liked it the best, we gave [the book] to them,” Joseline said.

Jeremie, 7, said his favorite part of the experience was the food and playing.

“I went to a waterfall,” he said.

The two siblings received two lollipops from Calverton fifth graders BriNae David and Mikayla Davis, who recognized them in the assembly.

“They showed an excellent example of compassion,” Mikayla said. “They went to Haiti and helped the kids in need.”

Joseline told her classmates she was currently holding a fundraiser for the children she met in Haiti and for $10, they would be entered to win a ticket to “Disney on Ice.”

Calverton Lower School Head Mary Margaret King was proud of the example the siblings set.

“I don’t think we could have a better example of compassion than Josi and Jeremie and what they did,” King said.

ldukes@somdnews.com