Service with a Smile

Service with a Smile

One of the final lessons for 12th-graders at Silver Creek High School left quite an impression – not only on the members of the Class of 2018, but also several area organizations and businesses that welcomed the seniors to help out Thursday (June 7, 2018) morning.

Students in government teacher Kristen Foley’s class signed up months ago to be of service on one of their last days matriculating on the campus of the Silver Creek Central School District. Shortly before 9 a.m., the volunteer brigade – comprising a majority of the students who will graduate June 22 – fanned out to tackle some meaningful tasks in the village and in Dunkirk.

More than a dozen seniors walked dogs, cleaned animal cages and pulled up weeds at the Lakeshore Humane Society on East Chestnut Street in Dunkirk.

“I could SO work here someday,” one animal-loving senior said excitedly during a tour of the facility.

“You can volunteer for us as soon as you turn 18,” replied LHS president Rock Vallone as he led the group through the lobby and out to the grounds, where they began tending the landscaping.

At the Absolut Center for  Nursing & Rehabilitation in Dunkirk and at St. Columban’s on the Lake retirement home in Silver Creek, both located on Route 5, the students enjoyed chatting while playing cards and games with the residents.

“As our seniors embark on their new beginnings,” said Foley. “I’d like them to consider making an impact through volunteerism wherever they go, for the rest of their lives.”

Another group of Black Knights picked up rakes and hoes to tend to the community gardens behind the Chautauqua County Rural Ministry Gleaning Project on Central Avenue in Dunkirk, while just down the road at the Salvation Army more seniors raked the front lawn, picked up sticks, and spent some time assisting in the food pantry.

Meanwhile, at the Ruth Remsen Clothing Center, located behind the First United Presbyterian Church on Park Place in Silver Creek, several seniors cleaned, organized and folded piles and piles of clothing donations in the parking lot.

Shortly after 11 a.m., the Class of 2018 headed to Silver Creek Elementary School to enjoy a picnic under the pavilion and some games near the playground where many of them enjoyed playing at the start of their education.

“It’s small gestures like these, plus lending a little elbow grease, that can lead to meaningful connections in any community,” said Foley, who hopes Senior Service Day becomes an annual tradition in the district and noted several SCCS staff members – including Kevin Rice, Mark Baldelli, Alison Gondek, Beth Miller and Paula Redeye – oversaw the students’ efforts. “Black Knight Pride is something we’d like our students to remember after they get their diplomas.”

More than 50 seniors – about 2/3’s of the Class of 2018 – lent a hand. The volunteers are Jacob Bouvier, Brycen Shomper, Tyler Sack, David Hallmark, Nicholas Kavanaugh, Caleb Whitford, Tom Galfo, Wyatt Irish, Tessa Douglas, Kayla Frost, Jasmine Scheffer, Danyshka Molina, Gianna Rosario, Cheyanna Kiley, Gabby Rivera, Lauren Grover, Bridget Whipple, Cassy Pillard, Brad Yochum, Zach Rybak, Emma Pryll, Alex Bogosian, Rachel Radack, Hunter Bogosian, Phatima Akhdar, Jarmani Cooper, Sunshine Jimerson, Jacob Spruce, Sam Mullen, Jake Malette, Jon Pulver, Allison Karcz, Kystel Schwab, McKayla Polowy, Taylor Farley, Sean Marchant, Jon McDaneld, Alexis Murawski, Kaylee Winchell, Tiffany Denault, Kennedy Parks, Sami Page, Grace Restivo, Marisa Pagano, Austin Eggleston, Alexa Como, Ryan Rocque, Caitlin Taylor, Stephen Romanik,  Chad Yochum, Duncan Taber, Jacob Seitz, Mitchell Dillon, Rei Sugiuchi, and Lisa Renschler.