GLASGOW — Highland Elementary School has a room that resembles a craft store. The Honey-Mart, as it is called, is all about motivating parents, said Becky Honeycutt, HES Family Resource and Youth Service Centers (FRYSC) coordinator.
“This is to try to encourage parent involvement,” she said, adding that parents can earn Highland Honey-Mart Dollars by attending Parent-Teacher Organization (PTO) meetings, student-led conferences and other HES events.
They can then use these “dollars” to “purchase” items in the Honey-Mart, where the exchange rate is one item per Honey-Mart Dollar.
“All this is donated stuff,” Honeycutt said. “Every bit of it.
“You never know what’s going to be in there.”
Honeycutt said the items usually include crafts, holiday decorations and “lots of stuff for the home.”
She said the school is very fortunate that JOANN Fabrics and Crafts donates its discontinued items, adding that Glasgow is "a very generous community."
The Honey-Mart helps get parents to events and brings them in the school, Honeycutt said.
“Sometimes it’s a little intimidating for parents to go into the school,” she said. “But we don’t want them to feel like that. We want them to know that we want them here.
“We just want to do everything we can to encourage our parents to come into the building, because the more they come into the building, the more comfortable they’re going to be, and we want them to be involved.”
HES first-grade teacher Nikkia Frost said the Honey-Mart “rewards parents for all their hard work and going above and beyond to come and be involved in their child’s education.”
Christy Miller, HES library media specialist, said the Honey-Mart encourages parents to help out at school events.
“It’s not a handout,” Miller said. “They come and they volunteer and then they get to go in there and choose something.
“Parents really seem to like it. I’m a parent and I like it.”
Honeycutt said the Honey-Mart “helps our families to get things that they normally wouldn’t get.”
“And it also helps our staff,” she said. “If an employee has perfect attendance for a month, they can come and pick one item.
“So it encourages us to have perfect attendance.”
Frost, who recently had perfect attendance, said she and other teachers “really enjoy the Honey-Mart."
“There’s all kinds of great things,” she said. “I’ve gotten things like holiday crafts and pillows for my front porch.
“It’s a great extra incentive.”
Parents and teachers aren’t the only ones to “shop” in the Honey-Mart. Honeycutt said they let students come in around Christmas time and pick out an item.
Frost said students are “always super excited about that,” adding that this experience also promotes selflessness.
“They’re not shopping for themselves,” Frost said. “They’re shopping for their families.”
Miller said, as a mother, she loves that this encourages students to think of others.
“I think that’s what makes it so special,” Miller said. “They choose to think about somebody else and not think about themselves.
“That’s pretty special.”
Miller said her son got her something from the Honey-Mart this year for Christmas.
“My son made me wait until Christmas Day,” she said. “He put it under the tree and he was like, ‘I got you something!’”
When students pick up items as gifts, they wrap the presents or put them in gift bags, Honeycutt said.
“We wrap the present for them,” she said. “So they go home with presents for their family.
“And we’ll do that again the weekend before Mother’s Day. We’ll let the kids come in here and shop for their mothers.”
HES third-grader Olivia Wood said she went into the Honey-Mart wanting to find something for her mother, and that she felt “joyful” when she gave it to her.
“I got my mom an ‘M,’” she said.
HES third-grader Frank Bradshaw said he walked into the Honey-Mart to “get something special.”
“And then I found something that is as special as my mom,” he said. “I just saw something and then I picked it out.
“I felt joyful.”
Kerigan Hagan, an HES first-grader, said she walked into the Honey-Mart with the intention of getting something for her sister “because I love my sister.”
“I got my sister a little heart,” she said. “It felt good.”