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McKENZIE (October 5) — For the second straight year, students at McKenzie Middle School held a Service Day to learn the value of public service. Each student, along with the faculty and staff, …
McKENZIE (October 5) — For the second straight year, students at McKenzie Middle School held a Service Day to learn the value of public service. Each student, along with the faculty and staff, spent the Friday before Fall Break participating in a variety of helpful activities both on the school campus and across the community.
Students painted, cleaned and organized the school’s band room. In the library, they cleaned, constructed new bookshelves, weeded out old books and packed treat bags for the upcoming Red Ribbon Week.
In the cafeteria, students helped bake cookies and brownies to be given to first responders in appreciation of their service. The boys bathrooms had inspirational saying painted on the walls (just as was done in the girls bathrooms last year). In classrooms, kids packed boxes for Operation Christmas Child to be taken to First Baptist Church and First Cumberland Presbyterian Church.
Some middle schoolers crafted magnets for every locker in the building bearing the school’s motto: “I am a respectful student. I am responsible, resilient and ready to learn. I will focus on what is important: my academics and being the best that I know I’m supposed to be.”
Across town at Christian Care Center, students played games and visited with residents, helping some train for the upcoming Senior Olympics. Outside, some did outside work, watering plants and filling bird feeders.
At the VFW, some kids did landscaping work, while others helped bag cornbread and cake for an upcoming fundraiser.
At the Carroll County Humane Society, students helped clean and organize and socialized with the shelter’s many cats.
At Bethel University’s Wildcat Stadium, they scrubbed the bleachers clean just in time for this month’s Homecoming.
At the city park, the kids picked up litter and cleaned the playground equipment, bleachers and tables.
At city hall, they washed five fire engines, two police cars and a fire and rescue truck.
They picked up litter at the historic train depot and decorated a new wooden structure at the Farmers Market with corn stalks.
At McKenzie-Carroll County United Neighbors, students cleaned, worked in the food pantry, filled boxes for Beating Hearts and washed windows.
At the Gordon Browning Museum, the kids cleaned display cases, dusted, swept and took a few minutes to appreciate the memorabilia on display.
Students cleaned at Bethel’s Vera Low Center and helped label items as “Bethel University property.”
They pulled weeds on Waldren Street downtown.
At McKenzie Head Start/Early Head Start, the middle schoolers read to the kids and played with them outside.
At Beating Hearts, they helped sort diapers and bottles and cleaned.
At Lakeside Senior Living, they visited and played games with residents. Some of the girls painted the ladies’ nails.
At McKenzie Health Care, students visited and played games with residents and sang for them.
When everyone had returned to the school, they enjoyed lunch, then gathered in the gymnasium for a special guest speaker.
Matt Lane, the owner and operator of Block City Pizza, spoke about the importance of giving back to the community. He started by asking students what they did to serve and commented on each answer he got. He shared some of the ways he has served with the Rotary Club. He noted that you don’t serve and volunteer for praise and glory, but said that it does feel good to help others and makes you want to keep giving back. He also pointed out how the community helped him tremendously when Block City was flooded a few years ago.
He brought t-shirts to give away. He asked each grade a question and threw a shirt to the students when they answered.
The event was organized by teachers Amanda Morris (fifth grade Math) and Jean Holloman (Reading Intervention).
As the students made their way back to the school, Morris spoke with The Banner about the day. “We think it’s important to teach the whole child, not just academics, but also how to be citizens of their community. Several children in our community are often on the receiving end of help and volunteer work, and this gives them an opportunity to see that they can also give back, that they can jump in and volunteer and help others the way they have been helped.”