‘It feels good to do good’: Greenfield High School students participate in Community Service Learning Day

  • Destiny Burch and Layla Prescott make cards to go into “blessing bags” as part of Greenfield High School’s Community Service Learning Day on Friday. Staff photo/Melina Bourdeau

  • Eighth-grader Jessica Mihailicenco crafts a snowman as part of the Community Service Learning Day at Greenfield High School on Friday. Staff photo/Melina Bourdeau

  • Talia Caloon and Gianna Conte make hats out of cardboard and yarn to go with snowmen as one of the community service learning activities at Greenfield High School on Friday. Staff photo/Melina Bourdeau

  • In the Greenfield High School cafeteria, high schoolers and local seniors made positive cards during Community Service Learning Day on Friday. Staff photo/Melina Bourdeau

  • Handmade miniature hats were made by students to go with snowmen that will be given out to community members as part of a day of volunteerism at Greenfield High School on Friday. Staff photo/Melina Bourdeau

  • Greenfield High School freshman Zaday Fuentes and Greenfield resident Barbara Warden stamped cards together as part of Community Service Learning Day on Friday. Staff photo/Melina Bourdeau

  • During the Community Service Learning Day at Greenfield High School on Friday, ninth graders Neni Santiago, Rachel Dodge and KK Santiago make a blanket to be donated to those in need. Staff photo/Melina Bourdeau

  • Eighth-grader Zachary Gray places toys into the children’s “blessing bags” made at Greenfield High School as part of Community Service Learning Day on Friday. Staff photo/Melina Bourdeau

  • Students at Greenfield High School make positive posters to put on the walls of the school as part of Community Service Learning Day on Friday. Staff photo/Melina Bourdeau

  • Sophomore Elizabeth Trudeau makes a poster during the Community Service Learning Day at Greenfield High School on Friday. Staff photo/Melina Bourdeau

  • Counselor Deborah Potee and eighth-grader Julia Caples make a wreath by knotting pieces of fabric during the Community Service Learning Day at Greenfield High School on Friday. Staff photo/Melina Bourdeau

  • Eighth-grader Addison Rotkiewicz cuts shirts to make scarves as part of Greenfield High School’s Community Service Learning Day on Friday. Staff photo/Melina Bourdeau

  • During the Community Service Learning Day on Friday, Mary Pensak helps Greenfield High School junior Keysha Lowell to sew a reusable bag to be donated. Staff photo/Melina Bourdeau

Staff Writer
Published: 12/23/2019 5:46:06 PM

GREENFIELD — In honor of the season of giving, Greenfield High School students spent Friday morning doing activities for Community Service Learning Day.

This is the fourth year that students have done activities such as card making with the Senior Center and making reusable bags with Greening Greenfield, as well as many off-site activities, such as projects at the Greenfield Public Library, reading to students at Federal Street School and helping at the Moose Lodge.

Principal Karin Patenaude said it was a great day for the students to give back to the place they live in.

“It’s setting an example for what they can do to help others while in college or wherever they live as an adult,” she said. “The event has improved over the years with a lot of support from community members and local organizations. It’s a wonderful way to begin the winter break.”

Associate Principal Andrea Pasquini said this is her second year at the school and she’s liked having “a day centered on giving back.”

“It’s great for kids to see a need in their community, and do things in and for their community,” Pasquini said. “It helps them think outside of themselves and, in the long run, help them become good people as well as good students. A lot of them might not know how to volunteer or have the opportunity to do so, but this is a great way to do that.”

She said this year’s activities are the largest yet, with 25 activities for students to participate in.

Eighth-grader Layla Prescott said she was happy to help others. She contributed by making cards to go in “blessing bags,” which will be distributed to local families in need.

“There are people who don’t get a lot of things for Christmas,” Layla said. “I wish I could see the reactions of the kids when they get these (blessing bags.)”

Inside of the cafeteria, seniors came into the school to make cards together. Greenfield resident Barbara Warden and Greenfield High School freshman Zaday Fuentes stamped cards and had conversations about high school.

“I like to talk to her,” Zaday said of Warden.

Warden said she enjoyed making the cards as well as the company.

“I usually volunteer at the Senior Center, but I came here today,” she said. “I like to talk with the students and get their ideas on things.”

Meanwhile, sophomore Talia Caloon and junior Gianna Conte worked to make hats for snowmen decorations. Gianna said she was happy to do an activity around the holidays that gave back.

“These snowmen are going to the Community Center, I think,” she said. “It’s nice to do this around the holidays because I’m fortunate to go home and have things that others might not. It’s important to give back to those less fortunate, and it’s fun to do.”

Talia said she tries to help as much as she can through groups like Student Council.

“Some people don’t have time or get reminded to do things like this and it feels nice to help others,” she said. “It’s also nice that we do this twice a year because we get to do a new project if we want to.”

Eighth-grader Addison Rotkiewicz worked on making scarves for distribution to people in need.

“Especially in the winter when it’s cold, people need these,” she said of the scarves. “I like that we have a lot of activities to choose from and ways to help people. I look forward to it again next year.”

Another way students gave back included making positive posters to hang around the school for when students get back from winter break. Senior Hailey Younger and junior Cassie Mattei said the idea came from the Sandy Hook Promise and its Start With Hello campaign.

“It’s about basic things, like ending social isolation,” Hailey said. “We’re making positive posters to let people know they are part of a community. It’s based on the idea that social isolation leads to ideas of violence or negative outcomes. We want to create a place to feel hopeful and good for the rest of the school year.”

Cassie expressed her excitement to see a day dedicated to service.

“Sometimes it’s only the kids in Key Club (a service club) who do this, but now everyone can,” she said. “It’s also nice we can mix it up with all of the grades. We’re chatting and all participating with one another. It feels good to do good.”

Reach Melina Bourdeau at mbourdeau@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 263.


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