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Students perform community service

Students had a school day unlike any they have had before.

Under the direction of the National Honor Society Advisor Tamela McCartney, Iola-Scandinavia High School students set out to help their community on Oct. 16.

“It is a requirement for a National Honor Society (NHS) student to have some sort of project,” said NHS President Natalie Gauerke. “Mrs. McCartney brought up the idea that we should involve the whole student body so they would really get a feel for what NHS actually does.”

“Throughout the summer of 2013 we contacted certain people to get an idea of how many places would actually need our help,” Gauerke said. “We gathered all of our information creating the School Wide Community Service Project.”

“We have 16 different projects that we are helping with. They range from helping out at the elementary school library, to clearing trails at the ski hill and even tightening screws out at T-Bird field,” she said. “We wanted to involve the community as a whole instead of focusing on certain businesses. We are not focusing just on Iola, but Scandinavia as well.”

Gauerke notes that past projects have included blood drives, jean drives and reading to the 4-K kids.

“This year we actually get to work with our peers to make this service project happen,” said Gauerke. “It makes me happy knowing that our whole school can be part of this effort, instead of a select few students.”

The student body seemed to enjoy the day outside of the classroom.

“I think it’s amazing what we are doing,” said Mariah Oppor. “We are really making a difference.”

“It’s a good thing,” said Brandon Barth,

“The outcome of all this certainly is nice,” Lexi Hitchcock said.

Gene Knutson watched the students as they worked at the Legion Park.

“I think this is wonderful what they are doing,” said Knutson. “Some of them have never even operated hand tools before. It’s a great learning opportunity for them all.”

Tom Fucik, who owns the Iola Mills, couldn’t agree more.

“Having the kids clean up is a good thing,” he said. “When they drive by the river and see all that they have done, they should feel very proud of themselves.”

“It feels good to be able to give back to my community,” added a student who asked not to be identified. “It was not that long ago that my family needed assistance and the community was there for us. It makes me feel good that I can give back in a small way. It has made me realize what community is all about.”

Gauerke appreciates the cooperation of the ISHS staff and fellow NHS members for making this all happen.

“They have donated so much of their time and effort to put this together,” she said. “I know that finishing this project will really help the Iola-Scandinavia School District and the community grow even closer together.”

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