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Wed, March 20

Uncovering the secret of giving: Students find buried treasure on school ground

The Daily Courier/Shari Lopatin
A group of girls from Mary Ann Cline’s fifth grade class at Granville Elementary School help unwrap the tape from the buried treasure Wednesday morning.

The Daily Courier/Shari Lopatin A group of girls from Mary Ann Cline’s fifth grade class at Granville Elementary School help unwrap the tape from the buried treasure Wednesday morning.

PRESCOTT VALLEY-For a handful of fifth-graders, this past Wednesday was their first time digging up buried treasure, and then giving their prizes to someone else.

It all began during the 2006-07 school year, when Mary Ann Cline, a fifth-grade teacher at Granville Elementary School, read a book called "The Pumpkin Box" with her class. The main character is Charlie, a girl who likes to dig up buried treasure. However, when she finds a treasure from "the pumpkin box," she decides to give her trinkets away.

Instead of simply quizzing her class on the story, Cline asked her students to bring in a gift - something small from their hearts - and write a note with the gift designating whom the prize should go to. Then, they all buried their treasure for an entire year.

This year, Cline's new fifth grade class dug it up. She assigned them the responsibility of reading the notes and delivering the gifts. "I thought, 'Would it really be like a normal treasure?'" said 10-year-old Adriana Ayala. "The story said, 'It's better to give than receive.'"

After an exciting 20 minutes digging through dirt, the class discovered a large metal box under the ground. The students, ecstatic with their new finding, took the box back into the classroom where they all received a treasure and a note.

"I put this in here because it felt like the right thing to do," Adriana's letter read. "The one thing I need you to do is give this pin that my grandfather made to your librarian and tell her that one of Mrs. Cline's old students used to love the way she taught the library."

Other fifth-graders stood up and shared their trinkets as well. For example, an old student gave away a gift from his best friend, and asked the new student to give it to his or her best friend.

"This is my favorite ring. Please give it to your favorite teacher," another note read.

Cline's kids received necklaces for their teacher's daughter, and rocks from the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone for the Honor's teacher.

"It's the words with the actions that really mean a lot to us," Cline told her class after they opened their gifts. "It feels really good to pass something onto someone else."

Wes Powers, another 10-year-old student in Cline's class, received a butterfly magnet for the school librarian. "I thought it was really nice of them," he said.

Both Wes and Adriana said they learned it is better to give than receive. In addition, they are excited to begin thinking about what they will bury, and for whom, for next year's class.

Cline said this year, she may have her students bury two items, one for next year's student, and one for someone else. Either way, she plans to continue this tradition for years to come.

Contact the reporter at slopatin@prescottaz.com

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