On Saturday, April 28, North Park University’s Alpha Theta Delta Chapter of Kappa Delta Pi, an international honor society in education, held their annual Spring “Literacy Extravaganza.” Hundreds of elementary school students from three Chicago area schools attended the event. More than 600 flyers promoting the event went into the hands of Peterson, Hibbard, and Budlong elementary students. North Park’s School of Education students who are part of the honor’s society participated in the event by fundraising, inviting students, and running the literacy-related events such as making bookmarks, books, and word jewelry as well as general fun events such as face painting.
Dr. John Laukaitis, the counselor of Alpha Theta Delta, said that the event “communicates to the neighborhood communities that part of North Park’s Christian identity is giving without expectation of return. This spirit of service comes from being asked to be servants of Jesus Christ.” The event also helps prepare the Education students for their roles as teachers as they engage themselves and students in initiatives which strengthen schools and neighborhoods. “In many ways, this event is modeling what we want our teacher candidates to do once they are in schools, namely, finding ways to invite children and families to be active and part of a larger school community,” said Dr. Laukaitis. The event also gives teachers the skills and knowledge to make an event successful, and “it shows them that when an event is successful that there is no worldly reward as great as being a person for others and serving a community,” said Dr. Laukaitis.
The fundraising for the event translates into smiles on the children and the free book they receive when attending the event. For many of the children and families, this is the first time that they have stepped foot on our campus, and the Alpha Theta Delta Chapters’ aim is for them to feel welcome and for their first impression be one that tells them that North Park and the School of Education is dedicated to serving their children, the neighborhoods surrounding campus, and the City of Chicago.