All of Jamestown High School participated in a day of service Wednesday with more than 35 projects in the community and the school district.
"I feel like it's really important to impact the community and give back," said Courtney Peterson, a JHS student council member. "So many times the community has done stuff for us and now we're able to give our share to the community in whatever way we think is beneficial."
The purpose of the day of service is to create opportunities for kids to do something meaningful in the community, said Adam Gehlhar, principal of JHS. "It is holistic education where kids can learn leadership and contribution through service."
The projects ranged from cleaning up parks and school grounds to organizing "play 60" activities for elementary and preschool children. Others helped out at the Salvation Army, city and rural fire departments or making tie blankets for nursing homes and kids.
"So the scope is really wide and you could take any direction that you could possibly imagine," said MacKenzie Johnson, JHS student council member. "The goal is to impact a large amount of people that might not get that service or volunteerism through the high school, while teaching the importance of volunteering and how to collaborate and work as a group so a project works out."
The students helping at Washington Elementary School did everything from mop the floors inside to cleaning the grounds outside.
"I think it's helpful for society, not just for kids but for everybody," said Mariah Casey, a JHS junior. "I think every school should go out and help clean up the community, especially after winter."
Pat Greenwood, the custodian at Washington Elementary for 19 years, said he was pleased to have the help. The spring cleanup is a lot of work and the students made a big difference, he said.
"It's actually wonderful," Greenwood said. "There is lots of spring stuff to do."
Julie Skunberg, JHS guidance counselor, said the kids organized the work, brought the tools and didn't complain a bit working in the rain.
"It's just getting the reward of helping somebody out," Skunberg said.
Cole Rasmusson, a JHS senior, said he helped clean Jack Brown Stadium and the softball fields. He enjoys knowing he helped keep the city's attractions looking good.
"When people come to these fields who are not from here they see this as a reflection of the town," Rasmusson said.
Nichole Mosolf, executive director of Frontier Village Association, said students took down holiday lighting, raked and cleaned the horse pasture and cleaned goat pens. The students helped prepare the village for the approaching summer tourism season, she said.
"This is tremendous and we appreciate this a lot," Mosolf said.
Michael Shepherd, a JHS junior, said Frontier Village is a nice spot to clean because so many people visit and tour the attractions.
"It's just nice to see new faces around here, friendly and happy faces and that's what we want," Shepherd said.
Maddie Reinarts, student council president, said her group raised $1,000 on a GoFundMe online fundraising page to purchase materials to make 55 tie blankets for each resident of the Anne Carlsen Center.
Michele Well, Anne Carlsen Center school superintendent, said the effort was "truly amazing." The blankets were large and small and in all types of patterns and colors, she said.
"You don't know how much our kids need these blankets, not only for security but for warmth," Well said.
Maddy Orr, a freshman, said she liked that the group accomplished the tie blanket project in so little time.
"We all worked together for the same goal and it's really cool that we can help these children," Orr said.
This first year of holding the day of service is about helping students learn to partner, plan and organize an activity, Gehlhar said. Moving forward there will be more community groups putting together ideas for projects, he said.
"The goal is to get this off the ground this year and to learn from it," Gehlhar said.