Students ready to offer help around town

FAIRMONT — For eight years, students at Fairmont High School have been getting out into the community to help others during the school’s annual Community Service Day.

This year, the service day will take place Friday, and be led by students from the school’s National Honor Society. Mark Hernes and Molly Bleess, two teachers at the school, are advisers to the group.

Since the first Community Service Day, the event was coordinated by high school teacher Chris Engelby. She has given up the reins, but wanted to see the day continue under new leadership.

“We had big shoes to fill. It takes a whole team to take over what she’s done over the years,” Hernes said of Engelby’s involvement.

With Fairmont High School adding a National Honor Society just this school year, it made sense for the group to jump in.

“It’s a perfect fit because one the main pillars of our Honor Society is service. The student leaders have stepped up and taken a big role,” Hernes said. “It’s a tradition in our community and in our school so we’re carrying that forward.”

During past service days, groups of students have worked on a variety of projects, mainly at homes. They have done yard work, garage or basement cleanup, washed windows and completed basic home improvement projects. Students also have helped clean city parks, assisted at the Humane Society and spent time at nursing homes.

This year, 45 student huddle groups will be out in the community.

“Everybody in the school is out doing something in the community,” said Hernes, adding, “A lot of these kids are part of organizations and have been doing service all of their life, but for some kids this will be their first taste of what it means to serve in the community and the good feeling that comes with knowing you’re making a difference.”

Just last week, 27 students were inducted into the National Honor Society, bringing its total membership to 63.

A committee of teachers goes through the applications and accepts students of good moral character who have met high academic standards. National Honor Society is exclusively for juniors and seniors.

Hernes explained that the idea behind the Honor Society is not only for the students in it to serve, but to create service opportunities for the entire student body.

As for finding projects in the community this year, a few members of the National Honor Society wrote letters to the Sentinel and Photo Press. Some people responded to those while others whose names were on the list in the past came forward again requesting help.

Grace Higgins, a senior and member of the Honor Society, said the response has been good.

“It’s always a really fun day. It’s a group of people getting out and helping the community and we make it fun,” she said.

The rain date for the event is May 24.

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