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South Hagerstown students call shots for fun

Fulfill service hours requirement by volunteering on bingo night

Fulfill service hours requirement by volunteering on bingo night

April 10, 2008|By JANET HEIM

As the bingo wheel spins and the players watch their bingo cards - some keeping track of as many as five cards - the anticipation of a win is in the air. What makes tonight's session of bingo at The Village at Robinwood different are the young faces in the room.

The first Tuesday of every month, residents look forward to the activity more than usual, thanks to some South Hagerstown High School students.

"The last time we were here, we had applause and a standing ovation," said Emily Forrester, a junior who is a member of South High's National Honor Society and Key Club, the school's service organization.

Students from both groups alternate months for leading evening bingo at the Village at Robinwood. Students take turns spinning the bingo wheel and calling out the numbers or playing along with the residents.

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The students participate are rewarded with smiles from the residents, stories of the past and the opportunity to practice patience as hearing aids are adjusted, requiring bingo numbers to be repeated often.

South High teacher Bob Hornbecker came up with the idea for the standing bingo date to help students fulfill the group community service hours required as membership to South High's National Honor Society. First-year members of the group are required to complete one group project and one individual project, and second-year members complete two group projects and one individual project.

Hornbecker said 35 students are in the National Honor Society and about 45 students are in Key Club. Key Club students join voluntarily with no requirement for volunteer time, said Key Club Adviser Brooke Jozik.

Jozik said some students join to help fulfill the student service-learning hours required to graduate, but most sign up because of their desire to serve the community.

She said the partnership with The Village at Robinwood seems to benefit students and residents.

"I think the residents have realized that the stereotype of uncaring teens is not at all reality. There are many teenagers who still do care about the community and who want to make a difference," Jozik wrote in an e-mail.

Hornbecker said The Village at Robinwood was selected at random, but he said he discovered afterward that he had gone to school with several of the residents' children.

Elizabeth Rohrer, 85, said she remembers what a "nice kid" Hornbecker was growing up. She said there's something special about the South High students who come to help with bingo and she looks forward to their visits.

"Even though we're only here a short time, I think it makes a difference that we show up," said Danielle Higgins, a senior at South High.

Brittany Iseminger, a junior, said her grandmother is in a nursing home and she doesn't get to visit her often. She said she thinks her grandmother would enjoy having high school students play bingo with her.

"They like being visited. They're all really nice and it's fun," Brittany said.

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