Most middle school students know that hospitals help people who are sick or facing a health emergency. However, for two Greenwich sixth graders, their knowledge about a hospital’s pivotal role in the community goes much deeper.
Nico and Malick, classmates at the Horizons at Brunswick School Student Enrichment Program, spent their summer immersed in learning about Greenwich Hospital.
The project-based learning opportunity, “Shining Light on the Community” equips students with tools and resources so that they can delve into independent learning about an organization of their choice within Greenwich, said the boys’ teacher Steven Fong.
While their classmates chose to research organizations such as the fire department, first selectman’s office, and local museums, Nico and Malick had their sights set on the hospital.
“We really wanted to learn about Greenwich Hospital,” said Malick. “Both my parents work in a hospital. My mom is a nurse at Stamford Hospital and my dad works with computers in Greenwich Hospital. I wanted to learn about the places they work.”
Nico was equally enthusiastic: “I think it is important for kids to learn about a hospital. If not, kids might not go if they need to.”
The boys delved into the project by researching, interviewing, and collecting historical and current photographs for their culminating photojournalism presentation, which was made virtually to classmates, parents, friends and teachers.
Nico said an important part of their learning was the opportunity to talk with a hospital leader. “We were excited to interview Noël Appel. We learned about her job and a lot of things we didn’t know about the hospital,” said Nico about their experience talking with Greenwich Hospital’s senior vice president and chief development officer.
Malick said their Zoom interview with Appel gave them a first-hand perspective about the roles both the hospital and community play during a health crisis such as the current pandemic.
“There were 21,000 meals donated over 14 weeks; that is a lot of meals in four months!” said Malick, adding that it made him feel happy to know that people in the community care so deeply for those who work in hospitals.
The students were also excited to share what they termed “fun facts” about the hospital. “Did you know that Greenwich Hospital has 206 beds? We also learned that Greenwich Hospital has a great relationship with Yale,” said Malick, referring to the hospital’s connection to Yale New Haven Health.
In addition, the boys researched about the hospital’s founding in 1903, the different types of services the hospital offers, where Greenwich Hospital had outpatient centers throughout the region, and compared how the hospital’s main building has changed over its history.
“We are excited to share our project,” said Nico. “It is interesting to learn more about the places in the community where you live.”