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Rugby High students connect with their community

By Sue Sitter - | May 1, 2021

Sue Siitter/PCT Students Mikael Korb, left, and Harley Parsons collect trash on the Rugby High School campus. The cleanup was part of a class project on community engagement.

Students in Brittany Lovcik’s family and consumer science class at Rugby High School have been making connections with their community in and out of school thanks to a year-end class project.

Lovcik said she told her students to explore three questions with their projects. “Their projects are about, ‘What is a community? What makes up a community and what goes into being a community member?'” Lovick said.

“I kind of looked at our community and saw areas of need where they could give back,” Lovcik said. After giving her students the assignment, Lovcik went on maternity leave.

“It’s a lot of points for them. They had to put together a plan and search out a need. Some of them wrote letters asking for help and support doing research on things. They had to actually implement it and carry it out,” Lovcik added.

“Next, they’re going to do a follow-up. They’re going to evaluate themselves and their success and say what they would change if they did it again, or if there’s a future need for the project to keep going,” Lovcik added.

Some students carried out their projects by enlisting the help of others to clean their campus while others are in the process of sending a message to their community through art.

“We decided to clean up litter around the school grounds. So we’re getting students who aren’t doing anything during SRB to come and help and we’ll provide them with water and cookies for helping,” said Emily Yoder, who baked a batch of cookies for the students who cleaned.

“Our purpose was just to clean up the litter around the school and help the community and in our class, we’re learning about how helping the community can help establish relationships,” said Rylie Suchor, who helped to recruit and organize volunteers for the cleanup. “We got a lot of enthusiastic responses for it.”

“I think a lot of the teachers are glad we’re doing this because it’s nice to see cleaner school grounds and it helps our school look better to the community,” Yoder added.

Lindy Radomski and Trista Hamilton posted colorful flyers around campus to ask for clothing donations for their project. “We’re donating clothes to the Goodwill Store in Minot,” Hamilton said.

“We decided on this project because there are lots of people who need clothes and we’re giving clothes we no longer use to people who do need them,” said Radomski, who said the project was “pretty successful.” The two students collected two large boxes and two bags full of clothes ready to be taken to Minot.

Austin Dibble and Sage Connot named their project “Treats for Troops.”

“We’re putting together a bunch of non-perishable items and luxury types of things to send to the troops overseas. In that package would be trail mix, lotion, granola bars, gum, stuffed animals. We’re having the kindergarten classes (from Ely Elementary School) write letters to send in the packages, too,” Dibble said.

“We’re getting the items for the packages from our classmates,” Connot said. “We’re still in the process of doing that. Then, we’re going to get the packages sent out before school ends.”

Ally Graner, Joran Jundt and Peyton Hauck decided to reach out to the residents of Haaland Estates.

“We made birdhouses to donate to the Haaland Home residents and we donated bingo prizes to them,” Graner said.

Graner said the students bought the wooden houses from a hobby store, “then we decorated them and wrote all the residents’ names on them. We’re donating four birdhouses.”

Hauck said the group also collected donations for bingo prizes. “We’re donating candy, stuffed animals air fresheners and birdseed for the bird houses for bingo,” she noted.

“We wanted to do something for the Haaland Home but we couldn’t do bingo with them because of COVID, so we came up with this idea instead,” Hauck added.

Rianne Espartero, Alexis Grigsby and Monica Yoder created a simple project to brighten the day for book lovers in their community.

“We decided to make notes and laminate them and put them in books in the public and school libraries,” Grigsby said. “We wanted to write inspirational quotes to make people happy and uplift their mood.”

“We put messages in five kids’ books in each library and put little drawings on them and little things kids could read,” Monica Yoder said, adding, “We put other messages in all kinds of books.”

The students said they’ve visited the library to see if the books had been checked out. “There aren’t any missing yet,” Monica Yoder said.

“There’s not enough information (to evaluate the project) right now,” Espartero said.

“I’m hoping it will make students, adults and kids happier and put them in a brighter mood,” Espartero said of the project.

“We can show them that they’re not alone, even if they’re having struggles, there’s always a brighter side,” Grigsby said.

Thomas Groves and Cyrus Denton said they’re creating an art project to spark conversations about mental health.

Denton said he planned to create a painting on canvas depicting a figure crouching beneath the weight of hurtful words.

“It’s going to show the effect negative words have on a person,” Denton said.

“One of our substitutes, Mrs. Hagen, gave us some good insight and our art teacher, Mr. Jelsing, is also helping us with the idea,” Groves said, adding, “It’s art and mental health mixing together.”

“We hope people see the effects hateful words can have. We want to start a conversation,” Denton added.

Lovcik said she was impressed to see what her students created when she returned from maternity leave in mid-April. “It was fun to see what they think is important and what the community needs. To see them give back and take initiative is pretty cool,” she said.

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