Students lend ‘Big Help’

Elizabeth High School teens offer assistance around town

Posted 5/1/16

Normally, skipping class is frowned upon, but on April 27, around 200 juniors and seniors from Elizabeth High School left their classrooms with the blessing of the school board to participate in The Big Help Day organized by the EHS Student …

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Students lend ‘Big Help’

Elizabeth High School teens offer assistance around town

Posted

Normally, skipping class is frowned upon, but on April 27, around 200 juniors and seniors from Elizabeth High School left their classrooms with the blessing of the school board to participate in The Big Help Day organized by the EHS Student Council.

“It’s always good to have community service in general,” said Megan Reyher, Elizabeth High School senior class president. “We put together a committee on our student council, four of us and one of our sponsors.

Reyher gave credit for the idea of The Big Help Day to student council president Maryanne Hughes. The original idea centered on engaging all four classes with community service, partly to give back to the community and partly to improve college applications.

“We went before the school board and got it approved, and they thought it was a great idea,” Reyher said. “We just started calling organizations and seeing if they would be interested in having a group of high-school kids come out and do community service with them for a day.”

The council was surprised that some organizations either did not want help or ignored the requests altogether. In the end, around 200 juniors and seniors participated in The Big Help Day.

“We got turned down by a lot of organizations. We didn’t think that that would happen. Either they didn’t have any projects in mind or the timing didn’t work out,” Reyher said.

The largest group of students went to Elizabeth Parks and Recreation and spent the morning cleaning up Evans and Casey Jones parks.

Students also visited local elementary schools, assisting in classrooms, the library, and some physical education classes, while others delivered copies of the District’s annual newspaper, Small Town Big News. Others performed housekeeping chores at the Women’s Crisis Center and local nursing homes.

Several students were surprised by the amount of work that needed to be done.

“We also had kids that went to Peaceful Valley Boy Scout Ranch, and they were not expecting the work-heavy day that they were going to have,” she said. “We were actually told to have students bring their own hammers.”

The hard work included digging tree trunks out of the ground and moving rocks.

The students plan to hold The Big Help Day again next year, but next year’s student council will have to work without some of the wisdom and experience gained this year.

“None of the people in the committee this year are going to be returning, either seniors or not returning to student council, so it’s going to be run by a completely different group,” said Reyher, who had some advice for next year’s council. “I feel like we did a pretty good job, but I would say just get organized early.”

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