A note of student gratitude left on a classroom door brought a weary Chaparral High School teacher nearly to tears recently. It was among several acts of kindness orchestrated by Chaparral student Kellyn Dassler as part of her Girl Scout Gold Award …
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A note of student gratitude left on a classroom door brought a weary Chaparral High School teacher nearly to tears recently. It was among several acts of kindness orchestrated by Chaparral student Kellyn Dassler as part of her Girl Scout Gold Award project.
“That was a beautiful thing,” Chaparral teacher Damon Larson said of the messages. “Every once in a while, it's nice to get that shot in the arm, that validation.”
The Gold Award is the highest in Girl Scouting. It requires a project that provides a sustainable, lasting benefit to the girl's larger community. Kellyn, whose mother and father both are educators, proposed a project called “Year of the Teacher 2014,” in which she would acknowledge the staff at her high school in some unique way each month.
“I saw the teachers working really hard, especially with all the changes going on,” she said. “I decided it would be great to show how we appreciate them.”
Starting in August 2014, Kellyn enlisted the help of several CHS student clubs to host a teacher car wash, babysitting night, breakfast and gratitude notes, among other projects.
Teachers said the gestures have been heartwarming.
“I love, love, love teaching, and don't want to do anything else,” said French teacher Carolyn Ford. “But it is an incredibly tough job.
“We know our students appreciate us; there are a lot of ways they show it. But this is an organized concerted effort. And not only do the projects Kellyn is doing help us feel good, they actually help us in concrete ways.”
Leaving the school on Friday with a clean car means there's one less job waiting on the weekend to-do list, Ford said.
Larson, who's been part of the Chaparral staff since the Parker high school opened, said Kellyn's projects have brought the community closer.
“We work hard academically, on the stage, the court and the fields,” he said. “But in the end, Chaparral is a family. Kellyn's endeavors just reinforce that.”
The project wraps up in May, and Kellyn's final report will be submitted to Girl Scout leaders. Only 5.4 percent of eligible Girl Scouts successfully earn the Gold Award. Though she hasn't yet received the pin that indicates a Gold Award recipient, Kellyn already has received ample reward for her efforts.
“This has made me feel more a part of my school,” she said. “It's also made me more aware of different needs. A lot of times as students, I don't think we realize the different perspective of the staff at our schools.
“Ideally, I'd like to approach other schools about doing something similar — beyond the walls of Chaparral into all of Douglas County and in other schools.”
To read more about Kellyn's project, visit
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