By Molly McCarthy, Contributing Writer
Westborough – Westborough High School (WHS) student-athletes showed their appreciation for their hometown by volunteering at various Westborough locations Aug. 20. as part of the first Rangers Community Service Day.
Mia Natale and Addie Egan, both rising seniors and student-athletes, were the visionaries behind the day. Natale first came up with the idea of student-athletes trading a day of practice for a day of service after she and Egan attended a Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) conference last summer. Natale then presented the idea to the MIAA where she also serves on the Student Advisory Committee.? The girls then started forming a plan last summer of a Rangers Community Service Day.
WHS Athletic Director Johanna DiCarlo said she was “thrilled” with the idea, especially as it would impact not only the student-athletes but the community at large.
“I have certainly worked with them but this is their baby. They have been the ones out pounding the pavement, getting the kids, getting sites and it's really their vision, which has been really fun for me. It's a great way for us to kick the year off on a positive note,” she said.
Almost 200 student-athletes took part in the service day. Students took on projects at the high school as well as at the other Westborough schools. The day of service also reached beyond the schools including projects for the Westborough Athletic Boosters Association, Westborough Fine Arts Education Association, St. Luke's Parish, Beaumont Rehabilitation and Skilled Nursing Center, The Willows at Westborough, Westborough Town Hall, Department of Public Works, First United Methodist Church, and the Lee Property.
The students performed tasks such as yard work, office work, painting, cleaning, moving boxes, washing windows, serving food and wheeling patients.
“Our main purpose in doing we want people to see us all in these neon shirts around town and we want to show [residents] that we really appreciate everything the town has done for us. I mean, we are supported all the time, from money being paid to the athletic programs and people coming to our games. It's just a way of saying thank you and showing younger kids role models getting out into the community,” said Natale.
“The whole athletic philosophy is not just to be a great athletic player out in the field but also by putting yourself in situations and giving yourself experiences. To act beyond the field and have a more lasting impact, to find value in the things that will really matter more in life; not just the playing field and winning a game,” added Egan.
The two said that not only was the day a great way to help the community but also an excellent way to build team spirit, help new students meet potential teammates, and get everyone excited for the upcoming school year and athletic season.
After volunteering, the students returned to WHS for an ice cream social. The ice cream, along with the neon t-shirts they all wore, were donated by the Westborough Boosters.
Natale will share the results of the day with the MIAA in the future, with the hopes that it will eventually be implemented statewide.