Our community is a little better today, thanks to the efforts of more than 800 Great Bend High School students and numerous USD 428 employees and community members.
Wednesday was the sixth annual GBHS Community Service Day, where students put away their Chromebooks and participated in around 76 work assignments.
The work began long before this week, with the FFA students raising money for the supplies they would need and other costs, including commemorative T-shirts for the participants. The motto on this year’s shirt read, “When action meets compassion, lives change.”
The money raised will also allow the students to donate $3,000 to Circles of Central Kansas, a community effort to end poverty in the Barton County area.
At a school assembly held just before students headed to their work assignments, the good works of students throughout the year were also recognized. The recognition went beyond volunteer work and included accomplishments such as band members making it to state festivals or foreign language students working to earn a Kansas bilingual literacy certificate.
Student groups also perform acts of community service throughout the year. The efforts aren’t limited to high school students; those in our middle school and elementary schools also take part in service projects. Children raised money last year to send to a Texas school affected by Hurricane Harvey, for example.
Andrea Stalcup, a sponsor of the GBHS Student Council, summed it up by simply saying, “There’s a wide variety of good stuff.”
Students may not have noticed the major effort adults made in organizing the GBHS Community Service Day, from scheduling the jobs to providing lunches and transportation.
One of the best things about the day was that nearly everyone participated, not just the student leaders and “cool kids.” Community service provides positive effects for those served and also for those who do the work. Some students learned new skills, others met new people, and all of them got to be involved in improving the quality of life of others.