FORTVILLE — It wasn’t glamorous.
Several seniors spent Thursday morning scra-ping chewed gum off side-walks, grumbling with each ball of solidified sugar.
After 25 pieces, they stopped counting.
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They looked at their classmates who were painting curbs and spreading mulch and couldn’t help but be jealous. They had the worst job, they decided, but the girls found ways to make the dirty chore fun. They laughed, reminisced about high school and looked forward to noon, when the hard work would end with the arrival of cookout fare.
Approximately 200 Mt. Vernon High School seniors deployed across the corporation’s campus Thursday morning to get their hands dirty and give back to their school before graduation next week.
Beyond scraping gum off railings, sidewalks and buildings, they painted curbs, read to youngsters and spread mulch.
For at least a decade, Mt. Vernon seniors have spent a morning giving back to their school corporation in the days before the final bell of the school year. They volunteer to do grounds work, help in classrooms across the corporation and spend one bittersweet day appreciating their school district before leaving it.
Sarah Weaver, a math teacher at the high school who also serves as senior class sponsor, said the school plans the senior work day to give students a chance to volunteer their time in hopes they’ll make a habit of giving back long after they leave the school’s hallways.
Participating isn’t a requirement, but the students who volunteer during the senior work day are rewarded with lunch made by administrators and a half day.
Alexie Evans looked at the effort as a way to spend one last day with her classmates before they part ways to go to college. She also wanted to give back to the school corporation she loves.
Senior year is hectic, and finding time to spend with classmates outside of the classroom can be difficult, senior Hailey Patton said.
Volunteering together to spruce up the school grounds was a great way to bond before next Friday’s commencement, Patton said — even if they were picking up other people’s chewed gum.
Madison McClain and Elisabeth Waucquez touched up patches of yellow on the curbs around the high school. The pair was excited to be out of the classroom, enjoying the nice weather Thursday morning, helping their school.
Waucquez said they don’t always get a chance to spend the school day outside, and they were happy to get a break from finals.
“We all get to be together and have fun once last time before we graduate,” Waucquez said. “It’s not that hard of work.”
About 65 of the seniors spread fresh mulch at the athletics fields at the high school while NCYNC’s “Bye Bye Bye” played from speakers in the background.
Brian Bozynski wasn’t having a blast landscaping, but it sure beat being in class, he said as he shoveled mulch around plants.
He volunteered because he felt he probably should and most of his friends were, he said.
“We’re at the end of our run here, so we might as well give back,” he said.