WORK GROUPS were divided by homeroom class and sent to sites throughout the community. Teacher Turner Huston’s seventh grade homeroom worked near the Woolwich town office, where a group, above, marveled at a worm uncovered by Malena.

WORK GROUPS were divided by homeroom class and sent to sites throughout the community. Teacher Turner Huston’s seventh grade homeroom worked near the Woolwich town office, where a group, above, marveled at a worm uncovered by Malena.

WOOLWICH

Woolwich Central School was abuzz with activity Thursday as teachers and students kicked off the morning with Walk to School Day, sent middle schoolers out into the community on service missions in the afternoon and wrapped up with an all-grades Fall Field Day.

“I THINK it’s awesome,” said Sarah, right, who planted bulbs near a stone wall with Joey and later picked up litter.

“I THINK it’s awesome,” said Sarah, right, who planted bulbs near a stone wall with Joey and later picked up litter.

“We have six groups going out,” said WCS physical education teacher Beth Harrington, a member of the Wellness Team that conceptualized Community Service Day.

The Wellness Team is comprised of teachers and adults, as well as seventh and eighth grade students, said Harrington. The team meets several times per year, and organizes the school’s field day activities and family fun nights.

 

 

“I read an article in the newspaper about Wiscasset schools connecting students with the town,” said Harrington of the inspiration behind the service effort. “It gives the kids a chance to get out and be active, and give something back to the town.”

This is the second year WCS has sent its middle schoolers out for service work, and Harrington said the response from the town, students and participating teachers has been overwhelmingly positive.

“We put it out on the town website that we were looking for people in the community who needed some help,” said Harrington. “We’re trying to reach out to the senior community” and residents who need assistance with seasonal chores, such as yard or garden work.

KALEB, ROSA AND SIERRA, eighth grade students in teacher Leanne Fisher’s homeroom class, struck a pose as they weeded the gardens by the Woolwich Central School entrance. Earlier, the class also planted daffodil bulbs by the school sign.

KALEB, ROSA AND SIERRA, eighth grade students in teacher Leanne Fisher’s homeroom class, struck a pose as they weeded the gardens by the Woolwich Central School entrance. Earlier, the class also planted daffodil bulbs by the school sign.

“Last year, a group of kids stacked three cords of wood for an elderly couple,” said Harrington. “The kids said the lady they helped was crying she was so happy — and she gave them cookies.

“The kids are right into it and the teachers’ support for this idea is also what makes it work,” she added. “We have great staff here that are willing to take their kids out into the community — that’s an integral piece of why the kids like it so much.”

This year, two groups went to local residences that responded to the bulletin on the Woolwich town website to help with household chores and do yard work.

Another group went to work at the LOCAL garden, where food is grown for Regional School Unit 1 cafeterias; two more groups worked at WCS — on the school fields and on an ice skating rink project initiated by a WCS graduate; and one group worked at the town landing behind the Woolwich town office.

“I think it’s awesome,” said seventh grade student Sarah Pine, who was planting bulbs with her homeroom class near the town office. “I like picking up trash, planting flowers and things. My grandmother is a real nature lover, and we like to do a lot of things like this together.”

The new Woolwich Central School, in RSU 1, opened its doors in 2012 and houses approximately 380 students in grades K-8 and a pre-K program. Jason Libby, a former seventh and eighth grade math teacher at the school, started as principal this year after longtime principal Tom Soule retired at the end of the last school year.

“To me, it’s the perfect example of what we call ‘the Woolwich way,’” said Libby. “Of the respect, honesty and character traits we want our students to carry out, not only to the school community, but extending out into the local community.”

WCS and the Wellness Team organize two field days annually, in the fall and spring.

“Teachers love the community aspect of it,” said Harrington, and noted that field day hosts movement activities, like relay races, as well as art projects and improvisational and storytelling activities. “It’s an opportunity for kids of all ages to be together, so we figured why wait until the spring?” she said.

International Walk to School Day, which typically takes place on or near Oct. 8, started in 1997 and is a global event that promotes active living and integrating safe routes to school in community planning. More than 40 countries participate in the event, as do thousands of schools nationwide.

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