Terrapin Day Takes a New Form


Devan Wilson-Harper, Staff Writer

    On Thursday, October 27, Tampa Preparatory Middle School students dressed in tie-dye spirit shirts were bused to various community service opportunities as part of “Terrapin Day.” However, this was the second Terrapin Day of this year, which is an entirely new development compared to Terrapin Days years prior. 


    Before 2022, Terrapin Day occurred once each year, with half of the day spent doing community service, and the other half participating in a field day with various activities. Now, Terrapin Day happens multiple times throughout the year and is focused primarily on community service.


    Middle School Social Studies teacher Kimmy Sanford explained, “Terrapin day had become almost synonymous with field day, and that service learning piece was lost in the morning. So, Mrs. Pereira thought, why don’t we start doing community service the first week of school and then once a month with different grade levels?”


    At the start of the year, sixth graders picked up trash on a playground, seventh graders cleaned up Gandy Beach, and eighth graders helped at Metropolitan Ministries and Feeding America.


    Service activities during Terrapin Day are different each month because of a rotation system. For example, on the second Terrapin Day, seventh graders picked up trash at Plymouth Playground instead of sixth graders. Because eighth graders are older, they have access to more opportunities, such as reading to young children at Rosa Valdez.


    Not only is this new structure more fundamentally beneficial for both students and the community, but it also allows middle schoolers to have new experiences and enjoy helping others. Seventh grader Lila Schar was particularly fond of her experience during the most recent Terrapin Day.


    “I thought it was really fun— I really enjoyed it. I think that the way that we do it actually benefits the community. Also, the things that we do make it fun, even if it’s spreading mulch,” Schar said.


    Most middle schoolers seem to agree with Schar, indicating that one of the main goals of Terrapin Day, establishing a “higher purpose than self,” is already being achieved this year. Fellow seventh grader Ryder Owens felt similarly to Schar.


“We went to a park, and I really liked it. I think it’s important because it really does help our community,” Owens said.


    The new format of Terrapin Day is exciting and seems to be successful already. Middle schoolers and teachers alike are looking forward to future Terrapin Days, and are enthusiastic about aiding the Tampa community.