By Nance Ebert, Contributing Writer
Westborough- Westborough High School (WHS) student athletes throughout the community participated in their third annual “Rangers Give Back” day of community service Aug. 24.
Former student Mia Natale first organized this student-driven event three years ago when she was a senior. There was such a positive response from the community and the student athletes that this event has evolved into an annual tradition, one that has made a significant impact for all involved.
“This initiative was brought about organically by the students. I am more than happy to support these athletes and their goal of giving back to the community. They realize how fortunate they are and this enables them to really show the community just how much they appreciate their support,” said Johanna DiCarlo, WHS athletic director.
Each of the fall athletic team participants, as well as the winter hockey team, were assigned a “team leader” as well as a location where their community service activity was taking place. All of the students met at WHS on the morning of the event at 9:30 a.m. to get their assignments as well as coordinating transportation to that location.
“This is a really fun way to give back to the community with your friends,” said Miriam Levesque, a rising sophomore and soccer player.
Each of the Westborough schools had a group of volunteers either mulching, raking, weeding and other yard work while others were working on bulletin boards, Booster Club mailings, and student handbooks literacy folders among other projects. Several students had lunch with residents at the Beaumont Rehabilitation and Skilled Nursing Center. Four town homeowners also had students do yard work. . Regardless of where each student was assigned, or their task at hand, the significance of the role they played in this day of “giving back” definitely made an impact.
Rosetta Moore, who lives on Ruggles Street, was very grateful for the help that she was receiving.
“My husband has not been well and maintaining this home is a challenge for us. Having the students here today is just wonderful. I couldn’t keep up this house without their help,” said Moore.
Mia Natale’s sister, Olivia, who will be a junior this year, is continuing her sister’s mission of service.
“I truly have a passion for community service and I was very inspired by what my sister was able to accomplish. I wanted to continue the legacy and have had great support by Ms. DiCarlo, the administration, Westborough Athletic Booster Association, , and the Westborough community,” she said.
Last year there were about 150 students participating, with at least that many this year.
“Olivia looked at this event last year as a sophomore and was able to rally an enormous amount of support from students. This event has consistency and a real purpose. The students rise to the occasion on their own. By no means is this pulling teeth,” said DiCarlo.
After their work was done, the students enjoyed an ice cream social. The student volunteers were also provided with t-shirts.
“Not only is this a wonderful opportunity for all of us to show our appreciation for the Westborough community but it is a great time to get the teams together. There is a lot of interaction and cooperation on this day which bonds the team members together,” Olivia said.