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Beach sees potential in club members

October 25, 2009|By DAVE McMILLION

HAGERSTOWN -- Williamsport High School junior Emily Beach is the type of student who does more than just meet her requirements.

Tim Sowell, unit director at the Elgin Station Boys & Girls Club, remembers when the girl went to the center looking to fulfill her high school requirement of 15 service-learning hours.

She put in the required volunteer hours, helping run programs at the club, and has now accumulated about 60 hours, Sowell said.

"She just kept on coming," Sowell said. "And she's dependable for a volunteer, which is not normal."

Student-service learning is a method of practical education that links academic learning with student service that benefits the community, according to the Washington County Public Schools Web site.

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Emily, 17, was at the Elgin Station Boys & Girls club on Tuesday, hanging out with kids in a room where they could sit while doing activities. A gymnasium next door was bustling with kids playing basketball.

"The kids are great," Emily said. "I feel like a teacher. You see all the potential in them."

Working with kids is something she would like to do more, she said.

She hopes to become a social worker and to protect children, helping them escape from abusive situations, she said.

At Williamsport High School, Emily is part of the "best buddies" effort, through which she interacts with special-education students. The idea behind the program is to let those students interact with people outside the special- education classroom.

Emily, who started work in the best buddies program last year, said she also goes on a about five field trips a year with special-education students.

"She's wonderful with the kids," said Pauli Lazor of the Noland Village Boys & Girls Club extension, who nominated Emily for the Washington County Commissioners' Youth Meritorious Award.

She was presented that award, which recognizes academic and community leadership, two weeks ago.

Emily has a 3.78 GPA and is described by her teachers as a hardworking student.

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