At the end of February, Middle School students gathered to honor a former student, Emily Maki, who passed away in 2011. This year’s “Emily’s Day of Science & Service”, an annual celebration honoring Maki and her passion for community-building, welcomed different organizations to campus for a day of engagement.
It was the twelfth straight year students have participated in Emily’s Day activities cultivated with Maki’s kind spirit and generous heart in mind.
This year’s celebration began with Lauren Johnson ’28, Emily’s second cousin, who described why Prairie continues to honor Maki. “She helped people a lot, [and] she was positive and a good person,” explained Johnson, who also said that Maki’s memory continues to inspire her to be proud of their family connection.
Following Johnson’s speech to the students, a key note was given by Jessica Greb, Director of House Operations, and Olivia Kresse, Volunteer Services Coordinator, of the Ronald McDonald House of Eastern Wisconsin. Both were happy to receive donations of handmade blankets and other necessities from the students for the families in their care.
Other memorable demonstrations from the day included Conservation Education Supervisor Ryan Retzke from the Racine Zoo, who brought along snakes for the students to interact with; entomologist (and Prairie parent!) John Sharpe and colleagues from the SC Johnson Center for Insect Science & Family Health, showing the Middle School on just how cool bugs can be; and Coalition Coordinator Sonja Peterson from the Hope Council, who presented on the importance of healthy choices.
In addition to the blankets provided to the RMHC, students also made toys for the animals currently at Woof Gang Dog Rescue in Racine.
The tenets of the Middle School’s mission are teaching self care, respect for others, and a responsibility to the community; and the annual Emily’s Day activities continue to be an important part of an all-encompassing education.
Middle School students will follow up their Emily’s Day activities with a beach clean-up day later this year, and the other divisions have their own Emily’s Day-inspired plans in the works as well — including a Carnival of Engineering Night in the Primary School, which is sure to not only inspire and delight the students, but also emphasize that science and service are crucial parts of Prairie.