Napier Elementary in Nashville, Tennessee is one special place. Despite being part of the federally funded Title I program — a government program that provides funding for high-poverty school districts —the students there have inspiring outlooks and a thirst for knowledge that put others to shame. However, with the Title I classification comes a myriad of problems; With 98 percent of the students there qualifying for the school’s free lunch program, very little is leftover in terms of extra funding for the kids. That means fewer extracurriculars and, more often than not, a scarcity of educational field trips for the Napier Elementary students.
Random Acts’ Senior Design Officer Sam Garner knew this was a problem and wanted to change things for the better. “The 3rd grade teachers of Napier Enhanced Option Elementary needed funding to take their students on a field trip to the zoo, which would not only be fun, but also a tool for teaching and connecting with the world around them,” Sam wrote earlier this year. “Animals are a central part of many children’s landscapes, but unfortunately not for these children … [many of whom] come from highly impoverished homes. Most of these children have never even been to a zoo.”
According to Sam, “To provide an opportunity to interact with animals [would] have … a positive effect” on the Napier students. “[A] field trip [would] not only create a venue for learning, but also … a much needed morale boost just before summer break.”
With the rest of the Random Acts team on board, and with Random Acts allocated-funding in hand, Sam and the third grade teachers of Napier Elementary gave the students a year-end interactive school field trip to the nearby Nashville Zoo, where they had the opportunity to meet some of the zoos inhabitants face to face and treat themselves to a fun day outside the classroom.
Check out Napier Elementary’s third grade classes in action below: