Not a Raw [Replenish] Deal: UPMS Honors Students of the Month Through Community Partnership
UPMS Principal Mrs. Chris Siegfried is always looking for opportunities to get the community more involved with her students and the middle school. Last year, at the height of pandemic virtual learning, she found a new way to honor students who earn TRIBE Awards, which are given out by each grade level team every marking period to students who demonstrate the TRIBE values of Tolerance, Respect, Integrity, Bravery and Excellence. Students are typically recognized at an in-person breakfast, which was impossible during virtual learning. She was able to partner with several local businesses to provide gift cards for TRIBE Awards, a win-win for small businesses struggling in a pandemic economy and students who deserved a treat. Little did Mrs. Siegfried know that one of those partnerships would continue to flourish and evolve in the year ahead.
This year, UPMS expanded that partnership to recognize Students of the Month, an effort that coincides with the school’s ongoing implementation of the Second Step curriculum (which features a holistic approach to building supportive communities for every child through social-emotional learning). In line with each month’s Second Step-related theme, Students of the Month are selected. Their reward is a free smoothie at Raw Replenish, a full service plant based cafe located just a short walk from UPMS on Main Street in Pennsburg.
Ms. Kate Coleman founded Raw Replenish with a simple mission in mind: getting the community a little healthier, and she’s happy to be able to extend that mission to UPMS students.
“I love this partnership, as I feel it’s incredibly important to show kids that there are healthy options available to them close to their school,” said Ms. Coleman. “Less healthy dining options are much more prevalent in our community. For example, there’s a pizza place on nearly every corner. While those kinds of foods are great in moderation--everybody loves pizza, myself included--it’s important to show kids that healthier options, ones they might not be as regularly exposed to, are available in their community as well.”
One of the aspects of the Student of the Month partnership that both Ms. Coleman and Mrs. Siegfried love, is that not only does the program provide a well-deserved award, but there is also an educational component to students’ visits to the cafe.
Ms. Coleman added, “Our employees and I really enjoy interacting with the students when they come in for their smoothies. We’ll let them know a bit more about the food and drinks we offer. That education, awareness and community interaction fits nicely into our overall mission. It’s great getting to know the students too. Our hope is that the kids will return, as customers, or even employees, in the future. We have employed a number of Upper Perkiomen High School students over the years.”
Mrs. Siegfried is also happy that a range of students are selected to receive the Student of the Month honor, given the themes that are honored and the connection to SEL.
She said, “So often we see the same students being recognized time and time again for the more academic honors. While strong grades are something to be celebrated, students might bring other strengths to the table, and it’s great to see them recognized for these non-academic attributes and being role models for their peers.”
So far this academic year, Students of the Month have been recognized in September for having a growth mindset, October for their perseverance & outstanding efforts during Unity Week and November for their gratitude. You can see a list of the Students of the Month below.
September - Growth Mindset
Encore 6th Grade: Ryleigh Seelal
Encore 7th Grade: Kaleigh Diamond
Encore 8th Grade: Jacob Creneti
Explore Team: Bryce Watts
Synergy Team: Hannah Robinson
Inspire Team: Dominik Amore
Innovation Team: Damien Davis
Impact Team: Leah Hunsinger
Dream Team: Kaley Digilio
October - Perseverance & Outstanding Efforts During Unity Week
Encore 6th Grade: Gavin Stauffer
Encore 7th Grade: Olivia Gehringer
Encore 8th Grade: Liv Bossert
Explore Team: Joseph Grau
Synergy Team: Mason Harward
Inspire Team: Zoey Dowlatow
Innovation Team: Wania Abdul
Impact Team: Brianna Rollason
Dream Team: Katie Proctor
November - Gratitude
Encore 6th Grade: Devyn Mott
Encore 7th Grade: Jacinda Loose
Encore 8th Grade: Jenna Harvey
Explore Team: Gavin Stauffer
Synergy Team: Eleanor Uber
Inspire Team: Maevyn Spaar
Innovation Team: Zoey Mayberry
Impact Team: Kaiden Schaefer
Dream Team: Luciano Licopoli
Find out more about Ms. Coleman and Raw Replenish on the cafe’s website, Facebook page, and Instagram account. Ms. Coleman is also in the process of opening up a second Raw Replenish location on Main Street in Souderton, and this store is slated to be open by December 15, 2021.