National and Global Youth Service Day is six months out, but Big Walnut Middle School students are already in the planning stages to hold their first schoolwide Big Walnut Service Day, scheduled for April 15.
During the Oct. 8 Big Walnut Board of Education meeting, Big Walnut Middle School Assistant Principal Josh Frame and students Caleb Faust and Elizabeth Ansel described how the middle school’s 15-member Leadership Council is holding two meetings each month leading up to the event, with added participation of the middle school student council.
Caleb Faust said 525 students and 60 adults broken up into service teams would complete the daylong service day projects. Projects would include work in and around other schools, local businesses, local parks, nursing homes, and even fundraising for a local food bank.
“Service Day would not only benefit our community, it would benefit our school and students,” Faust said. “This will provide an opportunity for us to break out of our shell and be a member of the community where we live.”
Elizabeth Ansel said Service Day would be an opportunity for the entire school, student body and staff, to connect with the Big Walnut community.
“We want to reach out and see what’s important to our community,” Ansel said. “We have applied for a Delaware County grant to help fund our Service Day. We already have some sponsors and we’re looking for more.”
Already on board as Big Walnut Middle School Service Day sponsors are the village of Sunbury, the Sunbury/Big Walnut Area Chamber of Commerce, the Sunbury/Galena Rotary Club, the Sunbury Lions Club, the village of Galena and United Way of Delaware County.
Service Day costs include student-designed T-shirts, materials and supplies needed at service sites, and promotional costs.
In the meantime, Big Walnut Middle School student leaders are planning Service Day, with an agenda each month through April. Agenda items include seeking service sites, transportation planning, a materials list for each site, and a host of other details.
On Service Day, students will have a homeroom attendance session, followed by team-building activities and a whole school pre-service assembly. Students will be at each service site for 3.5 hours, followed by a sack lunch and service day reflection activities.
The day will end with a whole school assembly and a sharing of experiences.
“Service learning promotes good deeds and academic achievement, but its greater potential lies in preparing students to be engaged citizens,” Frame said. “As an educational leader within the district, one of my favorite aspects of this project is to witness our middle school students refine their leadership skills during the planning process.
“We can thank the Student Leadership Council at Big Walnut Middle School for the impact of the student-organized, student-developed, and student-driven community service day,” Frame added. “Given the purpose of this event is to serve others, we hope the biggest impact will not be on ourselves, but on those that benefit from our unified service.”
Frame said organizations and individuals that want to sponsor Big Walnut Middle School Service Day can call Big Walnut Middle School at 740-965-3006 and ask for him or middle school Principal Penny Sturtevant.
Reporter Lenny C. Lepola can be reached at 614-266-6093