For Holy Name first graders, worldwide adventures begin at Marian. This semester, Marian seniors partnered with first graders from Holy Name Catholic School as part of their Sociology II coursework. The seniors wrote and designed a story about their first-grade buddy’s adventure in a foreign land. The storybooks were presented to the first graders at a Christmas party held Dec. 1 at Marian, complete with a visit from one of Santa’s elves.

Marian students have enjoyed this lesson many times as a component of their studies in Sociology II. More than 15 years ago, Marian sociology teacher Tom Baker developed the project to help younger students see the value of being a citizen of the world. The assignment is to portray the first grader as a hero in a foreign land. The seniors are required to feature the country geographically and culturally. Using Photoshop, the seniors edit the first graders into images of the global destination. In one story, a first grader held up the Leaning Tower of Pisa, while another scored the winning goal at the FIFA World Cup!

Consequently, the project offers not only a global lesson but a lesson about the Omaha community. Holy Name and Marian share a long legacy. The Servants of Mary, who came to Omaha in 1918 to staff Holy Name School, also founded Marian in 1955.

Earlier in the semester, Marian seniors visited Holy Name to meet their buddies, learn about their school and gather information for their first grader’s story.

For many of the first-graders, a field trip to a high school was a first-time experience. In addition to a Christmas party, the seniors took their buddies on a tour of Marian, where they visited art and science labs and met teachers and other students.

“This experience opens a window to new dreams and possibilities for our students, which is essential to their continued motivation in school,” said Principal Pattie Ahlgren. “It taught our first graders important components of story, and the time with the girls made our students feel important.”

Each first grader took home two copies of their personal storybook. For both the first graders and the seniors, it is a story they will never forget.

Founded 100 years ago, Holy Name School was staffed by the Servants of Mary, the same order of sisters who founded Marian. Today, Holy Name is led by Principal Pattie McCormick Ahlgren ’84. She is pictured here with first-grade teacher Anna Mandel ’13 and some of the students.