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Students complete service project

Seventh-graders raise $6,500 for local cancer center, Hospice

Seventh-graders raise $6,500 for local cancer center, Hospice

December 06, 2006|by MARLO BARNHART

SMITHSBURG - There are things one wants to do and things one has to do, but only infrequently do these two needs merge to everyone's benefit.

Larry Myers, the student service learning coordinator at Smithsburg Middle School, said recently that he was so proud of the enthusiasm shown by the school's seventh-graders as they completed their annual service project.

That project, which this year involved walking around the school track and at Smithsburg's Veterans Park, raised $6,500 through pledges for the John R. Marsh Cancer Center and Hospice of Washington County.

In previous years, the pledge walk project had been at Antietam National Battlefield, but because of high gasoline prices, they kept it closer to home the past two years, Myers said.

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Between 200 and 240 students participated this fall. The two top money raisers this year were Catie and Michael Moore, who raised $250 each. Those amounts was matched by Citicorp, Myers said.

In Maryland, all students must perform 75 hours of community service. At Smithsburg Middle School, some of those hours have been worked into the curriculum for the past 10 years, Myers said.

"The seventh-grade teachers got together and we decided to coordinate, coming up with programs that met the seven best practices of Student Service Learning," Myers said. The components included preparation, action and reflection.

The seventh-grade English classes wrote to organizations in Washington County, telling them of the project.

"Groups were picked to come and speak on what they did, and then the students voted on which agency to choose," Myers said.

Maps were drawn by the seventh-grade social studies students while the science students figured the calories burned by each student participating in the walk. The seventh-grade math students figured up the money, Myers said.

When all was said and done, each seventh-grader had earned 15 hours toward the service goal.

"We decided to give the kids ownership of the program," Myers said, obviously proud of the choices they made.

In a ceremony, representatives of John R. Marsh Cancer Center and Hospice of Washington County received their checks to help them further their work.

Sixth-graders go to Fairview Outdoor Education Center, eighth-graders have a physical education exercise that mostly is paperwork and 10th-graders do a life project, Myers said.

"It's a good bit of work, but we do it every year," Myers said. "We hope to go back to Antietam Battlefield next year."

A Washington County native, Myers has been teaching for 36 years. He graduated from North Hagerstown High School and Mount St. Mary's University.

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