• 70°

East Rowan students volunteer during East Area Service Day

East Rowan students took learning outside the classroom Monday to participate in the district’s first East Area Service Day.

The students worked on a variety of projects throughout the county: packing bags for families at the Community Care Clinic; planting flowers and clearing trails at Horizons Unlimited; washing police cars on the high school campus; and spring cleaning at Old Stone House.

The focus was “service learning,” community-based volunteer efforts that helped the students put classroom lessons into real-world practice.

“It’s like regular school but it’s helping you learn more about things in the ‘pen life,'” said fifth-grader Dakota Grinstead, a participant from Granite Quarry.

Tonya German, principal of East Rowan High School, said a need for service learning was identified among East area educators as they looked toward the 2018-19 school year and the school district’s renewal status.

Renewal came in the summer of 2018, as state legislators granted all Rowan-Salisbury Schools charter-like flexibility in areas such as curriculum and instruction.

“Often, people just associate schools with teaching academic skills,” said German. “Activities like these help us build those social skills and those interpersonal skills that kids are going to be using in every aspect of their lives.”

But students weren’t just learning lessons of responsibility, respect and altruism. Students in the occupational studies class at East Rowan High planted an herb garden at Horizons Unlimited after classwork on pollination and soil.

The work involved careful measurements, planning and diagramming to ensure the plants were given adequate space in the allotted bed.

All told, 300 students from the East Rowan school district participated: 70 each from East Rowan High School and Erwin Middle School and 40 each from Granite Quarry, Morgan, Rockwell and Shive elementary schools.

Learners had to apply to participate, answering questions such as why service learning is important and why it is important to give back to the community. Participants were then selected by teacher committees at each site.

German said there was no struggle finding 300 participants.

“I really like getting out and helping others, trying to be a good role model for the younger students,” said East Rowan junior Elizabeth Nanney. “It’s not as bad as people make it out to be.”

East Area Service Day also provided students the chance to become acquainted with nonprofit organizations and rescue personnel throughout the county. Groups volunteered at Rowan Helping Ministries and Nazareth’s Children’s Home, while others washed fire engines and planted flowers at various fire departments.

Deputy Tommie Cato, a school resource officer, was one of the first to have his patrol car washed by students Monday morning.

“I think this is excellent,” he said. “It’s so good to let young people get to volunteer and learn that volunteering should be a part of their everyday lives.”

German agreed.

“Often we’re reaching out to these organizations for help,” she said. “It’s a great opportunity to have that reversed. Our ability to depend on each other is how we’re able to benefit the community as a whole.”

Comments

BREAKING NEWS

Gov. Cooper lifts indoor mask mandate for most situations, gathering limits

BREAKING NEWS

Barnes gets new punishment of two life sentences in 1992 murder of Tutterow couple

High School

High school football: State’s top honor goes to Jalon Walker

Local

Scout’s Honor: With dedication of flag retirement box, Salem Fleming earns Eagle Scout rank

College

North Carolina king, queen of NCAA lacrosse tourneys

Education

Kannapolis seniors walk elementary schools

Local

Local real estate company employees come out in force to build Habitat house

Local

Quotes of the week

Coronavirus

Auditors find oversight lacking for $3 billion of state’s pandemic aid

Nation/World

When will gas situation return to normal?

Local

Rowan native Shuping posthumously receives Concord Police Department’s Medal of Valor, Purple Heart

News

GOP measure on penalties for rioting draws fire

News

Black high school softball player told to cut hair

Coronavirus

State shows 303 COVID-19 deaths in Rowan

Coronavirus

CDC: Fully vaccinated people can largely ditch masks indoors

Crime

One arrested, another hospitalized in Castor Road stabbing

China Grove

China Grove Roller Mill open for tours Saturday

News

Facing personnel deficiencies, local fire departments request tax rate increases

Local

‘Panic buying’ creates gas supply shortages locally, statewide after pipeline cyberattack

Business

Twice as nice: Planet Smoothie opens alongside Cold Stone Creamery in co-branded store

Local

Spencer board gets update on South Iredell rat problem

Education

West Rowan teacher awarded $15,000 outdoor learning grant

Cleveland

Town of Cleveland plans celebration May 22

High School

High school girls tennis: Busy Hornets win again easily