GREENFIELD — Football players armed themselves with rakes and pruners to whip their school’s landscaping into shape.
The cheerleaders practiced their lifts while reaching the highest corners in the athletic wing’s hallways. Dance team members carried each other on their shoulders to scrub all the scuffs off the walls of the gym.
Nearly 200 Greenfield-Central High School students pulled on rubber gloves and piled on layers to scrub, primp and pamper the high school inside and out Saturday for the second-annual Take Pride in G-C Day of Service, hosted by the Rotary Interact club. The effort, which more than doubled in size from its launch last year, aims to instill a sense of philanthropy in students while sprucing up the school and grounds in time for graduation, set for June 4 this year.
About a dozen clubs and sports teams joined forces Saturday with the Interact Club, a student group extension of the Rotary Club of Greenfield, for the effort.
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Members of the Interact Club started the day of service because they wanted a way to give back directly to the school, especially its hardworking custodial staff, said senior Collin Shaw, vice president of the club.
Spreading the word about the project helped bolster the numbers for the second year, Shaw said — about 70 students cleaned up the school before graduation last year.
The students working outside on a brisk Saturday morning bundled up as best they could in hooded sweatshirts and letter jackets, but keeping their hands toasty proved a major challenge, admitted senior Interact member Olivia McBride.
Still, the student workers put those concerns aside and stayed focused on the task at hand.
“With all the people here, we’re getting a lot done, and I think it’s awesome,” McBride said.
Connie Jo Harris, athletic department administrative assistant, serves as the coordinator of the group, which takes on a number of projects throughout the year. The student club sells fair-trade bracelets from Nicaragua, hosts a Christmas party for special education students and volunteers its time with Rotary, said Emmi McKeeman, club president.
Football coach Adam Sherman and about 45 of his players tended to the landscaping north of the school, trimming, mulching and mowing whatever needed tidying.
“It’s a good thing to do,” said junior Lee Dullaghan. “The janitor does so much for us that we don’t really know about, so we just want to try to give back to them.”
Sherman has encouraged his football players to get more involved in community service projects, said junior Michael Sosnowski.
And there was plenty of moral support. Kaylee Bowman, captain of the Blue Fusion Dance Team, had to adapt her duties to protect the bedazzled boot placed on her foot after a recent surgery, so she chose to sweep the steps and baseboards of the gymnasium and bring gloves and cleaning products to her fellow team members who did more of the heavy lifting.
Staff members, coaches and community members aided in the effort as well, setting an example for students.
Cheer coach Laken Peal joined 20 of her cheerleaders to scrub the walls, floors and baseboards of the hallways in the athletic wing. Looking around Saturday, she was impressed with the progress over last year’s event.
“There weren’t nearly as many students here as there are this year,” she said. “The jobs are moving much faster.”
She felt encouraged to see so many students taking part in the day of service, she said, because it helps students understand the effort it takes to keep the school looking nice.
The 32 Interact Club members built upon their previous year’s work. In 2015, they added landscape beds to the northern gym entrance; this year, they added another flower bed and paid special attention to maintaining the current beds.
Rotary Club of Greenfield members grilled burgers and hot dogs for the students after they finished their tasks — a welcome break after hours of work.