InsideODU: News for Faculty and Staff
Thursday, February 28, 2013

 Feature


Dean Irwin-DeVitis, left, and Darden College alumna Brenda Scanelli recognized the efforts of the student organizations at the announcement on Tuesday.
Darden Dean's Cup for Service Awarded to Student Virginia Education Association Chapter

Old Dominion's chapter of the Student Virginia Education Association (ODU SVEA) is the winner in the first Darden Dean's Cup for Service competition, as announced Tuesday afternoon by Dean Linda Irwin-DeVitis.

Student organizations throughout the Darden College of Education took part in the new service project this month, in which Irwin-DeVitis challenged them to collect school supplies for Caribbean schools on the islands of St. Kitts, Dominica, Nevis and Antigua. The project was inspired by the efforts of one of the college's alumni, Brenda Scanelli, a 1976 master's graduate of the Pk3 early childhood program, and her husband, John. The Norfolk couple, who joined DeVitis for the announcement in the Education Building lobby, have been aiding Caribbean schools for a number of years - securing everything from books to desks, and even helping renovate buildings.

During the month of February, the Darden College's student organizations - as well as some classes and individuals - collected such items as markers, crayons, glue sticks, rulers, construction paper, composition books and many other classroom supplies. Several student organizations took part in the challenge, and a few ODU military students joined in as well, donating backpacks filled with supplies, Irwin-DeVitis said. Monetary donations, were also accepted, and totaled approximately $500. The organization whose donation was determined to have the highest value was declared the winner in the competition.

For its participation in the challenge, ODU SVEA held a Scholastic Book Fair in the Education Building back lobby. Sales from the fair generated $1,000 in free books, to be donated to the Caribbean schools. As winner of the challenge, the group will have its name engraved on the Darden Dean's Cup, which will be placed in an Education Building display case. ODU SVEA, an organization that supports its members' preparation for careers in teaching and offers community service opportunities, also receives a plaque.

Over the past three years, through a partnership with Bless the Children Inc., the Scanellis have sent 10 40-foot shipping containers laden with small and large school supplies, computers, medical supplies and playground equipment to islands in the Caribbean.

"We hope this will be one of a number of efforts with the schools in St. Kitts, Dominica, Nevis and Antigua. We already have a distance professional development session planned on March 15, to be led by SueAnne McKinney, an associate professor in our Department of Teaching and Learning, to help support the teachers with instruction in how to use Cuisenaire rods, Pentominoes and other educational manipulatives to teach elementary math concepts," Irwin-DeVitis said.

"I hope this particular challenge will be one part of an enduring relationship with these Caribbean schools."

Irwin-DeVitis said the Darden Dean's Cup service project will become an annual tradition, and that the designated charity will change from year to year. Student groups in the college will be invited to nominate charities, and the Dean's Student Advisory Group will select the recipient organization.

"Darden is about impact, service and preparing students who are committed to bettering their world. This is a chance to engage in a friendly competition for a great cause. It is also a way to celebrate our student groups and their passion for service," Irwin-DeVitis said.

"This year, Darden students will make a substantive difference in the lives of some terrific kids and their teachers by providing materials that stimulate creativity and imagination."

Brenda Scanelli was one of six ODU graduates who received Darden Fellow awards last November as part of an annual program that recognizes the achievements and contributions of outstanding graduates from the education college. She and her husband have enlisted the help of local governments, friends, businesses and other volunteers to support their charitable work. The stickers affixed to every item they ship reads: "From a friend in America."


Representatives from several of the Darden College's student organizations were on hand for the announcement.


The boxes of school supplies collected in the service project challenge will soon be shipped to the Caribbean schools.

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