WEST VALLEY—With a recent surgery and the passing of his wife, one West Valley resident was unable to complete some of the jobs around his home, and reached out for assistance. And, that is when students and staff from West Valley Central School stepped up to help.
“He had a lot of trees down and a lot of damage and he was really ecstatic of what we were able to do there,” WVCS Superintendent Eric Lawton said. “The kids were telling me later that the garden was so covered with stuff that when they pulled it back, they couldn’t believe how beautiful it was.”
From helping residents to businesses and organizations, WVCS elementary, middle and high school students joined together to help better their community during their annual Community Day on May 7.
Participants helped residents with spring jobs like raking and picking up sticks in yards, mulching and planting flower beds. Along with helping residents, volunteers helped paint the floor at the Food Pantry, picked up garbage along Route 240 and Thornwood Drive and helped clean up local cemeteries.
After helping with jobs throughout the community, students helped with jobs on the school grounds including weeding, mulching, picking up leaves and cleaning up the front area of the school.
“I want to help make the community cleaner … sometimes there is a lot of trash and sticks everywhere,” ninth grade student Alex Fisher said.
Throughout the day, Lawton heard a lot of good feedback from the students and staff, many who wanted to keep going or have more Community Days. Many from the community also thanked the volunteers and Lawton for all the help.
“I had quite a few come up to me and say we should do this more often,” he said. “I think they liked the idea working side-by-side with their peers and teachers. It’s nice that we have different grade levels working together ... they are with students they aren’t normally with and doing activities they might not normally do.”
Lawton was proud of everything the students were able to accomplish and is happy to see how much pride they took in their community. Lawton thanked event organizers Bryan Hansen and Gerry Stead for all their hard work setting up Community Day and continuing the work with students to help better West Valley.
“It really makes me proud, not only that they are doing the work, but the fact that there were 17 different projects out there in the community with different families and hearing the positive feedback from those folks and the students,” Lawton said. “It’s such a positive morale builder for the whole community.”