The clouds have rolled in on a mild Tuesday morning, as a sea of maroon-clad students were determined to make their way to their destination. That destination: a plethora of yellow school buses that made it feel like everyone was back in 5th grade going to the science museum. But in fact, as other Springfield College students began to travel on foot, it was determined that the reality was just the opposite of the science museum. Holding shovels, pushing lawn mowers, and carrying the determined spirit, mind, and body down the campus streets, students knew exactly what reality was.
Humanics in Action Day had its 18th birthday and it was time to celebrate. The bus numbered 36B, transported the men’s volleyball team, about half of the men’s soccer team and a few other students. The chatter was diverse and constant as no bumps or deceiving potholes interrupted anyone’s conversation. If anything interrupted it, it was the squeaking halt that 36B had when it arrived at its destination. To the majority of the students on the bus, the old, rusted, brick-red building looked unfamiliar. But, indeed it was the arrival to something that would put a smile on the faces of the people that mattered most that day. .
On the corner of Woodlawn and Washington Street, there stood Washington Street School, the school that did hold the hundreds of awaiting and anxious faces. Every Springfield College student was greeted by a few teachers and the counselor before they all embarked on their journey.
Each student would have their own task. Whether it would be reading, maintenance, or other activities, every fellow maroon and white would have their own different experience.
For two students, it was just a turn of the doorknob and they entered enchanted room 13, otherwise known as a kindergarten class.
John Boday and Andrea Feeley stepped into not just any other kindergarten class . The mixture of autumn colors and designs hanging around the perimeters of the wall almost made it impossible to not be in a positive environment. It was a quick flash back to the “good ole days” of colorful rugs, “great job” stickers, every piece of art work that has been done, and your classic animal alphabet screaming its appeal out of the wall. The third of four windows was opened, not only giving fresh air to the room but the appearance of the bright sun. That sun very well could have been a foreshadowing to a great day ahead.
Watching the kids of room 13 center in on coloring, Feeley didn’t waste any time meeting her new friends.
“What are you doing to stay healthy? Do you eat fruits & vegetables,”? said Feeley to a roundtable of kids.
Before Boday could work into his conversation, a young boy was determined to show him one of the coolest parts of the classroom. At the attendance chart, Boday asked, “How many people is that?” As the boy replied, “22!”, Boday replied. “Wow that’s a lot of numbers!”
The well-spread out happiness throughout the room progressed. One young boy was on the floor with his favorite orange crayon, losing the fight to stop smiling. Feeley continued to pour out questions with a hint of knowledge, asking, “Do you know where basketball was invented?” as one girl replied, “It’s near my house!”
Feeley and Boday continued to make their way around every table to interact with the kids. As Boday is a freshman this year, he didn’t know what to expect. Being a senior this year, Feeley knew the feeling Boday had.
“I had no idea what to expect with the Humanics in Action Day the first time,” said Feeley.
Not only did Feeley know how Boday felt, they were connected well before this day.
Feeley was one of Boday’s NSO leaders’, group 19&20.
“He felt okay because I was his leader and we were paired together,” Feeley said with a laugh.
Once Boday found a rhythm of conversation with the kids in room 13, there was no stopping the connections he made. As some kids were approaching Boday more than others, he made sure to keep every kid involved.
“How are you doing, bud? What did you draw?” said Boday to one kid drawing by himself
The sounds of crayons being scribbled, laughter from table to table, and the warming connection between the kids and the two college students unfortunately had to come to an end at some point. “Mrs. P”, one of the school’s paraprofessionals, guided the kids to their next direction.
“Okay boys and girls, when you’re done putting your papers in the cubby, come sit on the rug.”
Feeley and Boday’s experience in room 13 may have ended but their interactions with the Washington Street School certainly didn’t.
As a sea of maroon “humaniacs” were outside the building, kids began to go to the playground. There, Feeley, Boday, and the rest of the Springfield College students were able to enjoy childhood memories with the kids that have brightened their day in just a couple hours. Kids were roaring in excitement down the slide, being pushed by a bigger helper on the swings, and most importantly, enjoying the last minutes they had with their new friends from Alden Street.
There’s no telling if any of these kids will make more connections with the Springfield College students that they met, but it truly meant a lot to Feeley and Boday.
“They are absolutely adorable. I love coming to see them; the things that come out of their mouth are hysterical,” Feeley said . “You wouldn’t guess that they pointed out the leg hair on John’s (Boday) legs.”
It is only hoped that Feeley and Boday’s visit can make a positive impact throughout the area.
“When I heard we were going to be reading to some students, I thought that was a good idea,” said Boday. “I think it’s definitely a positive thing that we do for the community.”