Ashton discovers a tooth in his fossil tool kit on Fossil Friday

This is part of an occasional series about what BCPS students and staff are doing this summer — Summer Stories 2020. Want to suggest a story idea? Send it to communications@bcps.org.


Every day of summer is a day of discovery for Ashton Diggs.

Ashton, a rising Grade 1 student at Honeygo Elementary, attends Goddard summer camp part-time but makes time every day to enjoy science, nature…discovering new things, and sometimes even writing.

A challenge to write a daily affirmation resulted in this poem by Ashton:

I am a unique tree,

There is no tree just like me.

I Stand Firm, I stand tall,

And I share my kindness around the world for all

One day you will soon see,

You’re a special and unique tree,

Just like me!

The challenge came from Ashton’s mother, Ashley McDonald, to write a daily affirmation to read aloud each day.

At Ashton’s house, Thursday is for going to the pool, Friday – known as Fossil Friday – is for STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) related projects, and Sunday is for watching movies – often from the Jurassic Park series.

McDonald says she believes the changes from the pandemic have brought her family, which also includes a two-year-old, closer together. “There’s less hustle and bustle,” Ashton’s mom says.

McDonald, who says she has always loved dinosaurs and believed in science, says that Ashton’s interest might have really begun with getting a goldfish from a fair. “Then we got more fish, and Ashton started learning about algae.”

Beyond fish, algae, and dinosaurs, Ashton has been spending time this summer learning more about rocks, gems, volcanoes, and fossils, sometimes by using inexpensive kits McDonald finds at area box stores.

“Ashton treats every activity as an experiment – recording what was done and what happened,” McDonald says. Recently the family has been gardening fruits and vegetables. Ashton was excited about how many seeds sprouted in just 24 hours.

McDonald says that Ashton is aware of what’s going on in the nation and world and often asks about why there is hate and why there is COVID. But mostly Ashton looks forward to returning to Honeygo as a Grade 1 student after attending the school for PreKindergarten and Kindergarten.

“We moved into the neighborhood,” McDonald says, “and the school was being built right down the street. We love the school and all the teachers. Ashton is looking forward to first grade – even if that means more work to do. He wants to see his friends.”

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