Graham Middle School students, including Paris Long, paint a mural on one of the walls of the shool Friday for Service Day. Bill Lackey/Staff

Graham students give back to the community

Graham Local Schools held the district’s first service day Friday, aiming to teach students the value of helping others in their community.

Students from the elementary school up to the high school took Friday to serve the community. Depending on the student’s age, they tackled tasks like planting flowers around the school, visiting a local nursing home, washing cars, painting lockers, picking up trash and other activities that made St. Paris and the surrounding area a better place than how they found it.

Jennifer Boggs, a teacher at Graham Middle School, leads a group of students as they plant flowers in new flower boxes for Service Day Friday.
Photo: Bill Lackey/Staff

Middle school student Max Barela said the day was fun and taught him and his classmates a lot.

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“We are building a flower garden for our school,” he said of the task he was assigned. “It’s pretty cool, it’s a good way to get to know everybody and do some teamwork.”

“The community service is also great,” he said. “It really helps the kids understand how helpful you can really be if you put some time and effort into this stuff.”

School staff members said they were proud of students who worked hard throughout the day to help their community. Graham Director of Operations Don Burley said the students embraced the day.

Graham Middle School students, including Nick Moore, left, wash cars Friday in the school parking lot for Service Day.
Photo: Bill Lackey/Staff

“There were core teams of student leaders that planned this day,” Burley said. “They set up all the events and made the contacts. They coordinated with teachers and staff on who will be overseeing the different projects and those student leaders created an environment of service and selflessness.”

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The students are a great example for others, he said.

Staff member Emily Smith said the event is part of the school’s strategic plan to get students involved in the community and doing community service.

“Graham is very involved in providing service opportunities for our students,” she said. “We’ve worked for several months now to make the events today possible.”

Graham Middle School students, including Paris Long, paint a mural on one of the walls of the school Friday for Service Day.
Photo: Bill Lackey/Staff

Smith coordinated the event and said it was great to work with such determined students. Multiple companies from the area donated money, items and time to make service day a success.

Burley said he expects the service day to become a tradition at the school district.

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“This has been a great first attempt and this is something that Graham is going to do every year,” Burley said. “We want to create great citizens for our community. We are very proud of our students.”

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