Can you go a day without wearing shoes? Students at St. Mary’s School proved they were up to the test, kicking off their shoes and going barefoot around the school Tuesday to participate in a global initiative called One Day Without Shoes.
A cause that originated with TOMS Shoes reached Johnson City after St. Mary’s student, Zoie Green, was glancing at a TOMS catalogue that explained the One Day event.
Green, along with Connor Wilson, brought the no shoes day idea to Principal Randi McKee’s attention as a possible service project and showed her a video clip that described what the cause supported. When McKee approved the idea, she said the students took over the planning and put together permission slips for St. Mary’s parents.
“Zoie and Connor brought this up in the meeting and the student council was just very excited about,” she said. “They did a flyer explaining it and also did permission slips because I didn’t want parents not to be aware that their children were without shoes today,” McKee said.
Students wore flip flops for recess, lunch and bathroom breaks, but were otherwise shoeless the rest of the day while teachers integrated the cause into their curriculums.
“In P.E. (Physical Education), our P.E. teacher used a very soft ball, but they were playing kickball inside and some of the students said, ‘This hurts’ and even though it was a very soft ball, she said ‘Exactly,’ ” McKee said. “She said, ‘Some children in other countries don’t have the joy of having a pair of shoes to go out and play with.’ ” While the students were barefoot, they did come to school with shoes to give away.
“They either brought new shoes or gently used shoes that we can pass on to Soles4Souls for third world countries that do not have shoes.”
Having already participated in the Soles4Souls campaign before, McKee said this was the school’s first time participating in the day without shoes event.
She said this schoolwide project was successful and she did not hear any complaints from students, parents or teachers.
“At St. Mary’s we try to make the children aware of those that are less fortunate,” McKee said. “They do service projects all throughout the year.”
Most of the students did take part in the cause Tuesday, but more importantly, McKee said she felt as though the students really did connect to the cause and understood the significance of their barefoot day of school.