Green River Star -

By Stephanie Thompson
People Editor 

Students help serve lunch at center


Stephanie Thompson

Emilee Herrera pushes a cart with cups filled with salad to each table before placing them onto the tables.

Last Thursday, Expedition Academy students learned the importance of community service by serving lunch at the Golden Hour Senior Center.

At the AARP luncheon, students were busy setting up tables, serving food and coffee to residents and picking up dishes. All the while, the students were smiling politely to those they were serving.

Expedition Academy principal Ralph Obray said before assigning students to help with a community-service project, they look at which students are doing well at school, which ones have had good attendance and which ones really need the community-service hours. Then the students are selected to help with the project. This time 10 students were picked.

Each year, the student is required to have 20 hours of community service, Obray explained. It is one of the student's graduation requirements.

The community-service program started a few years ago as a good way for students to get out into the community.

He said unfortunately, there are people in the community who think Expedition Academy is a place where they send "the bad kids." That's not the case at all, he said. This is one way the students have an opportunity to stop that stereotype from happening.

In fact, the students volunteer for the GHSC for numerous lunches, including Veteran's Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas. The students have also volunteered at the Green River Animal Shelter, the Green River Recycling Center, Green River Food Bank and Mission at Castle Rock. Obray said the school has also adopted a 2-mile stretch of Highway 191, which it cleans when is it not busy helping to keep the Greenbelt clean. They have even volunteered to clean residents' homes and mow their lawns.

All of these experiences teach them how to work with other people to complete a common goal.

"Every time we go out our students just do a good job," Obray said.

At first, the students seem to look at community service as some sort of punishment, however, by the end of their first project, whatever that may be, their opinion is often changed.

A lot of them realize how fun and rewarding it is to help others and look forward to the next project.


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