At the Feb. 13 Great Bend USD 428 Board of Education meeting, interim superintendent Khris Thexton noted that volunteers spend more than 120 hours a week at district schools, on average.
“Thanks to all who volunteer their time for the benefit of students,” Thexton said. He praised “the many persons who generously volunteer to assist in various capacities in the schools.”
Time spent at district learning centers ranged from an estimated 4.75 hours per week at Eisenhower Elementary to 40.69 hours per week at Great Bend Middle School. All of the learning centers were represented except Lincoln Elementary, which reported no volunteer activity.
While many of the volunteers are parents who serve on site councils or parent-teacher organizations, there are also guardians and senior citizens who volunteer with special projects such as yearbook, fundraising, hospitality activities, dances and music programs. Jefferson Elementary has one volunteer who listens to students read in a program called EARS (Everyone Able to Read by Sharing). Other volunteers include Youth Friends at Park Elementary, four persons from The Center who visit Park weekly, Panther Pals and Watch DOGS (Dads of Great Students) at Riley Elementary, and Panther Parents/Panther Booster Club, concession stand and lunchroom supervision at the middle school and/or high school.
There are also a number of student volunteers. Great Bend High School students in the Exploring Childhood programs help at Jefferson Elementary, Park Elementary and Washington Early Childhood Center/Helping Hands Preschool. Another GBHS student is a custodial helper at Park, and 20 Barton Community College women’s basketball players each spent an hour at Park during a visit to the school.
Additional volunteerism in the fall include 55 persons who helped with the Walking School Bus at Park and Riley schools — including GBHS baseball players and coaches, BCC women’s basketball players and 22 adults.