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Students step up

Alissa Widman Neese • Nov 2, 2013 at 7:20 PM

Rachel Dorski smiled and took a seat on a Merry-Go-Round Museum carousel horse Friday morning.

   Armed with tattered rags and a potent cleaning solution, the seventhgrader and her classmates weren’t looking for leisurely fun. They were ready to work.

   It wasn’t difficult for the antique carousel’s brass parts to produce a beautiful shine — all it took was a little elbow grease.

   Almost 300 Sandusky Central Catholic School students descended upon downtown Sandusky Friday for a citywide community service project. The group spent about three hours volunteering at more than a dozen local businesses and organizations to commemorate All Saints’ Day, a Catholic feast.

   Volunteer sites included Care and Share, the Sandusky State Theatre, the Sandusky Library, area churches and the Merry-Go-Round Museum, where Rachel and others cleaned and polished carousel horses.

   “I think it’s great our school allows us to do service like this,” Rachel said. “We can learn about our city and bond with older students while also helping our community.”

   The entire project was student-driven, with leaders from the school’s “house system” designating responsibilities and securing volunteer sites, said Cindy McClung, an employee in the school’s advancement and development office who oversees the program.

   The “house system” divides junior high and high school students into six small groups, called “houses,” to promote learning, leadership and teamwork across all grade levels through projects, McClung said. This is the school’s fourth year using the program.

   “The underlying goal is to really expose them to 21st century learning skills,” McClung said. “This gets them working as a team, so they can take a task and follow it through from start to finish.”

   Senior Caleb Severance, who spent most of Friday raking leaves and working outside, said the new volunteer project was impressive and rewarding.

   “It was nice to get out of the classroom and into the community,” Severance said. “I think the fact that some students stepped up to make it happen makes it even more important.”

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