Day of Service Helps Highland Community

Students Gather to Donate Blood, Tie Quilts, Write Veteran Letters, Color Books, and Wash Cars for Highland's Day of Service.

Books+of+animals+colored+by+highland+students+made+to+help+refugee+children+learn+english.
Books of animals colored by highland students made to help refugee children learn english.

Books of animals colored by highland students made to help refugee children learn english.

Kyle Adams

Kyle Adams

Books of animals colored by highland students made to help refugee children learn english.

Kyle Adams, Senior Editor

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On the third-to-last day of the school year, classes were cut short to give Highland students a chance to give back to their community and country. Three stations were set up in the main gym to allow students to drift to and work on each. In addition to the festivities in the gym, there was also a blood drive in the library and a car wash outside the front doors.

Highland’s PTA put this event together this year as a way to encourage students to provide service to the community in the last weeks of school. Day of Service is an example of a Highland tradition that makes the school a valuable part of the community.

Students were motivated to help out not only by the goodness in their own hearts but also by the prospect of getting their yearbooks. Any student who participated in Day of Service received a ticket allowing them to receive their yearbook early at the yearbook party later that day.

At the first station, students wrote letters for soldiers overseas or away from their families.

“The most special thing about writing letters to the soldiers was the fact that we don’t think about how many families are missing a piece,” Highland senior Cynthia Gallegos said.  “It’s like a puzzle that will never work because there is a piece missing.”

This service activity was the only one specifically directed to those outside of our local community. However, a theme of this service activity was getting out of the egocentric bubble that many students live in, especially at the end of the year when graduation is coming up and grades are due.

“The fact that we took the time out of school to step out of our busy lives and graduation and the end of the year to recognize that there are people fighting for us to go to school and graduate and be safe in America as amazing.” Gallegos said.

The second and third Service stations in the gym were a quilt-tying and picture book drawing operation both for refugees living in Utah. Highland is a refugee charter school itself, and these books and quilts will be distributed within local communities to show hospitality to people who have fled dangerous conditions in their home countries.

“We are making the books for these kids so that they can learn English and animals,” said Highland PTA member Jeni Gochnour.

The Highland PTA has also put together a lunchtime program for refugees to increase their involvement in school activities. These service projects are an extension of that kind of involvement.

In the library, students got their blood drawn for donation. Students under 18 were forced to sit on the floor due to liability issues, but other than that, this part of the project was similar to any other Highland blood drive.

With graduation coming, the service that these Highland students helped with not only aided the community, but also was an opportunity to relieve end-of-year stress.

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