When Bridgeport ISD students returned to school Tuesday, they were missing one.
Maya Javier, a second grader, did not join her classmates.
Over the winter break, the 8-year-old sustained severe burns in a home explosion in North Richland Hills. The accident, which occurred Dec. 21, left her hospitalized for more than a week.
Though she was able to go home, her return to school will be delayed a little longer.
While Javier may not have been physically present, her classmates and teacher, Kim Ballard, certainly thought about her throughout the day, centering many of their lessons around their injured classmate.
As part of their English/language arts assignment, the students made cards for Maya, using all of the components of a letter to send her a note.
In a lesson on the “how-to” writing style, the students outlined the steps they would take to reach out to every second-grade class to have students sign a banner made for Maya.
“Plus the social studies TEKS (state standards for what students should know and be able to do) are all about community,” Bridgeport Elementary Principal Martha Bock said. “This fit right into the lesson plan.”
In addition, students decided they wanted to do something to help Maya and her family, so they will raise funds to purchase bandages and creams.
According to school officials, the burns on Maya’s back and arms require the bandages be removed and cleaned and that cream be applied daily.
“The students will raise funds to help purchase those items,” Bock said.
Although still in the planning stages, the students hope to sell hot chocolate or lemonade – depending on the weather – on Fridays to students and staff.
But they’ll have to figure out the logistics on their own – how much it will cost, where they’ll get the materials, if they can get the materials donated, how long they’ll do this, how to advertise their efforts and so on.
“It’s all educational,” Bock said. “We are making a push toward project-based learning, where students are presented with a real-life problem and they solve it. [Project-based learning] makes learning relevant for them. This is an awesome opportunity to get involved and help a classmate in need.”
But the lessons and projects serve a larger, more important purpose.
“We want Maya to know we care about her,” said classmate Max Whitsell.