a community engagement initiative of Waverly Community Unit District #6
The Candyland Express comes once a week. Staffed by a corps of six students in 5th through 8th grade in the Life Skills Program, it delivers candy orders to peckish Waverly teachers. Stacy Robinette, its conductor, noticed the school lacked a snack machine and created the Express as a means of offering her students a hands-on way to practice math, social skills, and develop a business intuition.
How Sweet it is!
By Savannah Waszczuk
Teachers send in order forms and money, then Stacy’s students fill orders by making bags of candy, deliver them, and calculate reimbursements when teachers overpay. Stacy knows of other schools with similar programs that deliver coffee, but the Candyland Express offers Skittles, Milky Ways, Kit Kats, Twix, fudge rounds, and oatmeal and chocolate chip cookies instead.
The Candyland Express is just the latest way Stacy has been contributing to the school community. When the youngest of her five children—11-year old twins—got to kindergarten, she started working as a substitute teacher in the area. This is now Stacy’s fourth year with the Waverly School District, and she loves it. Unlike in some larger districts, Waverly’s small classes allow teachers to specialize more to the needs of individual students. When one student remarked during roll call that everyone forgets them, she made a point of always saying hello to them by name when she passes them in the hallway, to make sure that they feel seen. Because of the community’s small size, everybody knows everybody, so teachers have a better idea of what is going on in students’ lives outside of school and can support them accordingly. “All the kids are loved here,” Stacy says. Stacy is pursuing a Master’s in Special Education at Grand Canyon University to continue her own learning, but at a pace that works for her and her family.
Stacy grew up in West Salem and has lived in small towns for most of her life—the one exception is when she did her undergraduate studies in Atlanta at Georgia State. She has lived in Waverly for 17 years and likes that everybody here is friendly. Stacy says it’s nice to live in a community where she and her kids can always feel safe and know all the neighbors. Still, she also enjoys traveling. She visits relatives in Colorado Springs and, at long last, went to Paris and Rome with a school trip. Flight issues caused the journey there to take three days, but Stacy says it was fabulous.
Whether it is a school trip to Europe or creating a special new program at Waverly, it is clear that Stacy is motivated by a clear love for helping every kid learn from unique and challenging experiences. Thanks to Stacy, the Life Skills Program, students staffing the Candyland Express are actively participating in Waverly’s tight-knit community and bringing sweet joy to teachers. And by making sure that students who sometimes feel forgotten are seen, Stacy is spreading sweetness in more ways than one.