In a society that is increasingly self-focused on social media, Mark Twain wanted to find ways for students to practice helping others. Mark Twain has always had a student body that loves to do for others. To further push this effort, Rebecca Harris started the Reverse Selfie Club.
Rebecca Harris is the media specialist at Mark Twain. She has taught for Tulsa Public Schools for 35 years. Rebecca spent 18 years as a classroom teacher and about 15 years as a librarian. The thing she loves most about Mark Twain is that, "There was always a common thread at Mark Twain where students wanted to help," said Rebecca.
She created the club to purely focus on what students can do to help others. Rebecca was reading a newsletter one day and happened to see a message on the superintendent's board about the upcoming “Lemon-Aid” stands. She remembered having a class be a part of the original program 25 years ago and thought this would be great for the club.
In 1995, nearly 300 children led by 12-year old Katie Eller spent a weekend selling lemonade from 201 stands. Their goal was to raise money for the Day Center for the Homeless in downtown Tulsa. It was reported around $12,000 was raised.
25 years later in honor of the anniversary, hundreds of lemonade stands will be posted throughout Tulsa during Labor Day weekend. All proceeds once again will be donated to the Day Center for the Homeless. Excited by the news, the Reverse Selfie Club only had one question, “How can we help?”.
The first thing students needed to do was to design artwork for the t-shirt contest. The winning student's design would be used on t-shirts worn by all participating lemonade stands throughout the weekend. Mark Twain’s competitive students were quick to dive in.
After hours of research, students used the information they found they begin their design. It took the students two to three after school sessions to get their designs completed and submitted. Their designs were turned in online for people to vote on their favorite.
The votes were in: Mark Twain student Samuel Patton’s “One lemonade stand can change the world” shirt design won! The committee combined Samual's artwork with the design work of a student from Tulsa University to come up with the final product.
Samuel is currently a 5th grader at Mark Twain and has been there for two years.
“I like this school because there are lots of nice people here,” said Patton.
He has been apart of the Reverse Selfie Club since entering Mark Twain.
The club wanted to get an early start, so at the end of the school year, they had a lemonade stand at Penny Park. The entire club showed up and made over $100 in profit for the Day Center for the Homeless. The club will attend Lemonade Day at Guthrie Green on September 2nd, 2019 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. to celebrate the 25th anniversary. There will be games, plenty of lemonade and Samuel will be honored for his work on the t-shirt design.
“I was thinking of different ideas, the ones I thought of at first I didn't like. Katie and her sister had a lemonade stand, it only took one to make a change,” said Samuel.
He was speechless when he found out he won and beyond humbled.
Samuel said, “I was not expecting to win, I don't usually win things. I was so excited when I won...it's crazy.”
Lemonade books will be available at the route 66 Marketplace during Labor Day. The lemonade booklets include recipes and the designs of other finalists. These proceeds will also be donated to the Day Center for the Homeless.
To learn more on the Lemon-Aid Project, please visit the website.