AP Lit Students Treat Hospital Patients on Halloween


Community service is an important aspect of the ODA community, and something many of our students are passionate about. Each student at ODA has a required 25 hours of service to complete each year, and the school always offers a wide array of service opportunities both on and off campus to make this process easier.

The service events that are truly rewarding for students, however, are those that allow us opportunities to help other people in the community and make a lasting difference. This past Thursday, on Halloween, Mr. Lemieux’s AP English class took this enthusiasm for community service to create a new tradition at ODA where students not only spread joy to others, but in turn receive a very humbling experience.

In past years at ODA, some of the upper school English students have gone down to the lower campus to read to the Siesta Key students on Halloween. This year, Mr. Lemieux wanted to extend the experience beyond ODA. This year the AP class would read to children in the pediatrics wing at Sarasota Memorial Hospital.

When Mr. Lemieux suggested this idea to class, students were overjoyed at the thought of being able to spend time with these children and hopefully brighten their days. Students spend time planning how the day would go, what we would read to them, how we would read to them, and what kinds of Halloween gifts we could bring them.

On Halloween Day, students were surprised to find that most of the children in the pediatrics wing were infants, and there would only be one child hearing a story. Despite some initial disappointment, the effect of the experience was strong.

Senior Kelli Bagwell remarked, “I’m really glad that we were able to have this opportunity. It was fun and rewarding to be able to make a child’s day better, and I think we all felt very humbled afterwards.”

The most inspiring aspect about this experience was how much of an affect this one little boy could have. Though he was shy at first, he warmed up quickly, and was very excited students were there. I loved watching him open up the gift bag we prepared for him, and the “oohs” and “ahs” that came from discovering each different toy. I knew leaving the hospital that not only had we made his day great, but also had each had a realization of how lucky we truly are to be healthy and happy.

The experience my class had on Halloween was one we all appreciate now, as it allowed us to step out of our lives and think in a different perspective. The sadness we felt for this boy who is forced to spend such an exciting holiday in the hospital really opened our eyes, and we were happy that even for an hour we were able to make him a little happier. We could not be more thankful to Mr. Lemieux for giving us this opportunity, as it is one we will never forget.