Westborough High School students show thanks by giving back
By John Swinconeck, Contributing Writer
Westborough — On Nov. 16, a Saturday morning which was perfect for sleeping in, many Westborough High School (WHS) students instead headed out into town determined to spend the day making a difference. Clad in matching blue T-shirts, school volunteers headed out to various sites throughout Westborough as part of the National Honor Society’s Day of Thanksgiving.
“We wanted our mission this year to have a big focus on community service,” said Addie Egan, 17, senior, president of the National Honor Society.
Students performed a variety of tasks, including raking for elderly and disabled, working with patients at Beaumont Rehabilitation, running programs for homeless families at the First United Methodist Church, clearing Charm Bracelet trails for the Boy Scouts and helping the Department of Public Works with various projects, according to Egan.
The project was about two months in the making. The NHS modeled the project after the Rangers Community Service Day, which was held in August.
The day was open to all WHS students, and more than 100 signed up, according to Egan.
This was the first Day of Thanksgiving, and Egan said she hoped the event would become an annual occurrence.
“Students at Westborough High School have so many reasons to be thankful for our community,” Egan said. “They’re so supportive of the programs we have here. They’re always at our athletic games, they’re at our plays. They’re taxpayers. … It’s really great that we have an opportunity to show them we really appreciate their support. We’re really excited to be out there, on some lawns, to rake some leaves and see genuine smiles we bring to faces.”
“It has been a big endeavor, but its well worth it,” Egan said. “We’re really excited.”
Carlos Santom, 17, a junior, had planned on spending the day clearing trails and helping to run a program for homeless families at First United Methodist Church. Volunteering, he said, gave him a “good feeling inside.”
NHS Treasurer Riley Taylor said it was important that the society reach out to the community for its service projects.
“I feel like we’re really focused on the community, and that was something we felt was a little bit missing from NHS,” Taylor said. “The community gives so much for us, I feel like we have to give something back, and say, ‘Thank you for supporting us.’”
“Community service is something that I’m very passionate about,” Egan said. “The desire to help is out there, it’s just a matter of putting it into action.”
Faculty advisor Karen Apuzzo Langton said that Egan’s passion was contagious, spreading to other members of the society, and helped make the project happen.
“Addie’s driven by service,” Apuzzo Langton said.
Westborough High School Principal Brian Callaghan said he was proud of what the students were trying to achieve.
“We live in a great community that provides a ton of resources for our school,” Callaghan said. “This is a great way to show appreciation to the town, and that’s a big part of giving back.”
Students get a tremendous sense of pride by volunteering, according to Callaghan.
“Service learning projects do one very big thing that I don’t think textbooks can do, and that is: teach civics,” he said. “How to be a positive participant in a democratic society. … you don’t find that in textbooks. You find that in these types of activities.”
“This makes me feel just so proud,” Egan said. “I love having the opportunities to give back to the community and get down in the dirt and show people that we care. I couldn’t be more proud of the student body. I really am so happy to see everyone’s so willing to be involved, and willing to show that they really do care.”
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