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New London students set to assist residents during Community Day

NEW LONDON — On May 8, New London students will be seen across the city tending to yards, polishing windows and cleaning up trash in service of their community.

Though board secretary Jessica Boyer isn’t sure exactly how the tradition got started, this “Community Day” has become an annual spring event in the district.

“Our entire middle school and high school go out into the city and do jobs ” Boyer said. “It’s kind of a way to give back to the community.”

All of the district’s students will spend the full school day aiding members of their community in some way. Even kids in kindergarden to fifth grade will be assigned tasks on their own campus. For the older kids, though, be it individuals who need help with yard work, or if it’s organizations looking for volenteers, New London students will lend a helping hand.

The New London Country Club has been scheduling students to come out and clean the area around its clubhouse every year for the past five years. According to Don Ponek, the vice president of the Country Club, there will typically be anywhere from 12 to 18 students helping to pick up sticks, rake leaves and remove the vinyl tarp they put over the club for the winter.

This group tends to be on a little larger side for a typical group, which tends to have at least eight students according to Wagner, each headed by a staff member who will supervise the approximately 15 groups as they aid the community. Other places such as Elliott Chapel and the local Casey’s General Store also will schedule kids to come out, and private citizens can do the same.

“Usually that’ll be older people who aren’t able to get out and work themselves,” said Wagner. “(Students) do yard work like raking and washing windows.”

All that’s required for those who ask for the services is that they supply materials like bags and rakes for the kids to use.

The Country Club is one of the seven groups currently signed to receive help from students come May 8, and Ponek is happy to see the kids year to year.

“It’s nice having (the students) out there,” he said. “It gives them a nice spot to go out and do their civic duty and save all us old people from having to get out there.”