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Boonsboro students profit from hard work

October 22, 2007|By JANET HEIM

BOONSBORO - For Brittany Settle and her classmates at Boonsboro High School, hard work has its rewards. Their trip to the White House in December and to Blackwater Natural Wildlife Refuge on the Eastern Shore next spring are their motivation.

Settle, 18, and the other 11 special-education students of Debbie Blackwell do various fundraising projects throughout the school year to help pay for their trips. Blackwell said she could ask the parents to pay the entire amount for the trips, but prefers using the Junior Achievement model, where youth earn the money.

"It's more meaningful if they earn the money themselves," said Blackwell, who is the only Life Skills teacher at Boonsboro High. There are two special-education teachers there and eight assistants.

Their latest project was full of school spirit - silk-screening T-shirts in Boonsboro's colors with the trademark "B" as the design. This is the second year they have made the shirts, which are sold for $8 in the school store, which is run by Blackwell's students.

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The students also do monthly sub sandwich sales. They take orders from the faculty, then shop for the ingredients and make the sandwiches.

"It's really good. We're learning how to make things, raising money in order to do a reward," Settle said.

In addition to stressing life skills, Blackwell also wants her students to understand the importance of community involvement.

"We try to get everybody included in the community. We try to make that happen as much as possible," Blackwell said.

Every Wednesday, the students work in the Alzheimer's wing at Fahrney-Keedy Home & Village in Boonsboro, helping transport patients in wheelchairs. In exchange, the students get to hear stories from the residents about things such as life during the Depression.

Some students do youth apprenticeships in the school cafeteria and participate in school activities such as the chorus. Once a month, the group goes out for lunch, walking to downtown Boonsboro, and ordering and paying for their own food.

Last year, the main trip was a three-day stay on Smith Island, the only inhabited island on the Chesapeake Bay. Students helped write the grant proposal from the Chesapeake Bay Foundation for the trip and spent their time crabbing, fishing for rockfish, stargazing and taking boat rides.

To place an order for a T-shirt, call the school office at 301-766-8022.

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