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Shepherd frosh roll up their sleeves

About 120 freshmen worked at 14 area organizations during Shepherd's fourth annual Day of Service.

About 120 freshmen worked at 14 area organizations during Shepherd's fourth annual Day of Service.

August 12, 2004|by DAVE McMILLION

charlestown@herald-mail.com

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.VA. - Some Shepherd University students were back in town Wednesday, but they weren't buying books or unloading their belongings in preparation for the start of classes Monday.

They were cleaning up pig manure, scrubbing a Meals on Wheels kitchen at a local church, painting rooms in a portable classroom at Ranson (W.Va.) Elementary School and tackling numerous other duties at community organizations across Jefferson and Berkeley counties.

It was the fourth annual Day of Service, during which Shepherd University freshmen give something back to the community that many will call home for the next two semesters.

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Day of Service was started at the college to give students a positive beginning to their first year of school and to encourage them to start thinking about helping local organizations in need, said Holly Morgan Frye, director of Shepherd's Student Community Services and Service Learning.

Freshmen are given the chance to sign up for Day of Service during their orientation and growing numbers of students are joining the effort, organizers said. About 15 students participated the first year, while more than 100 have been turning out in recent years, said Shepherd University senior Rachel Barb, a team leader in Wednesday's program.

On Wednesday, about 120 students worked at 14 organizations in the two-county area, including the Shepherdstown Volunteer Fire Co., the Jefferson County Boys and Girls Club, Shepherdstown Day Care Center, Habitat for Humanity of the Eastern Panhandle, Jefferson County Community Ministries and Literacy Volunteers of the Eastern Panhandle.

For one group, the priority was pigs.

For 12 years, a local organization, Pigs, A Sanctuary, has been giving shelter to unwanted potbellied pigs.

The animals, originally from Vietnam, were once sold as pets, said Melissa Susko, director of the sanctuary.

But when the pigs matured, they often became destructive or aggressive and people wanted to get rid of them.

More than 100 potbellied pigs live the good life at the sanctuary's 60-acre facility off Persimmon Lane between Kearneysville, W.Va., and Shepherdstown.

Shepherd University students cleaned up manure, cut weeds and herded pigs, among other chores.

"We moved a big pile of rocks," said one student as members of the group gathered to recount their experiences.

Shepherd freshman Jill McWhorter said the animals seemed to enjoy the company and were competing for attention from their new-found friends.

"There's a lot of jealously with this farm," said McWhorter, who is from Wheeling, W.Va.

At the Charles Town Presbyterian Church at 220 E. Washington St., a team of five students scrubbed a kitchen that is used to prepare meals for Meals on Wheels for Jefferson County.

The meals are delivered to senior citizens who live in their own homes, said George Knouse, president of the organization.

The students gave the kitchen its annual "deep cleaning," which included scrubbing the oven, washing down walls and cleaning appliances.

Knouse said the work is a great help because the 90 volunteers who work for Meals on Wheels cook, pack and deliver all of the meals.

Student Jessica Zucosky, of Weirton, W.Va, said she decided to sign up for Day of Service and head to the church because she often volunteers for Boy Scout groups in her hometown.

"It seemed natural for me to do it," Zucosky said.

Alex Kerns had different reasons for signing up for Day of Service.

Kerns, 18, of Elkins, W.Va., said he signed up during orientation because "a cute little girl" convinced him to join.

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