WHS students highlight student-led service projects at school board meeting | Local News

BOONE — Students from Watauga High School attended the March 14 meeting of the Watauga County School Board to share information about a wide range of student-run service projects and volunteer work done by clubs and student organizations.

Led by council student representatives Isabella Sibaja and Mia Shanely, the presentation highlighted the work of nine student groups and dozens of student projects who volunteered hundreds of hours in Watauga County this year.

Watauga County Schools Superintendent Scott Elliott said he was proud to have so many students present at the school board meeting, especially to highlight the charitable value and volunteer work student clubs had done. This year.

“There is so much incredible work that our students are involved in every day across all of our schools, and it would be hard to highlight it all as much as it deserves,” Elliott said. “These students are leaders in their school and community, and we are proud of their incredible efforts to help those in need. For each of these projects that we will hear about this evening, there are undoubtedly many more that deserve recognition. It is a mark of the quality, empathy and work ethic of these young people that they devote so much time to the service of others.

The board heard from Brelyn Sturgill and Brooke Jones on behalf of Athletes for Good, a WHS student-athlete service organization. The group highlighted their work over the past year, including providing supplies and care packages to teachers across the county. The group also contributed to the Bags of Hope project for OASIS, provided chemo care kits for the hospital, appreciation gifts for nurses, and worked for a food drive on behalf of Casting Bread Ministries.

The WHS Interact Club, represented by members Sophie Wampler and Mia Shanely, presented to the board about the club’s volunteer work at the Bare Bones Thrift Store for the Watauga Humane Society, cleaning up the greenway and the river behind WHS , packing shoeboxes at Operation Christmas Child and holding a fundraiser for OASIS. The group has also worked on projects ranging from cutting firewood to volunteering at Hospitality House.

The Sustainability Club was represented by Gwendolyn Anderson and Sidra Miller. They shared with the board the group’s efforts to research, write, and coordinate with the administration to request a solar photovoltaic system that will help power the football concession stand and high school greenhouse at WHS.

WHS Marine Corps JROTC cadets were represented by Axel Albu and Zachary Brooks. Cadets reported that their unit conducted a river cleanup that removed 500 pounds of trash from the Watauga River. Cadets have also led over twenty color guards for various community organizations and contributed over 500 hours of community service in other areas, including support for local charities and non-profit organizations.

Watauga High School’s HOSA chapter was represented by Grayson Elliott and Brooke Scheffler. The club said it had raised funds for Kelly’s Cribs, prepared care packages for WHS custodial staff and packed COVID-19 supply kits for the Hospitality House. The students also held blanket drives for local organizations as well as two successful blood drives that will impact local healthcare providers. They also worked over Christmas to write and send cards to patients at the Deerfield Ridge Assisted Living Facility.

The Watauga Future Fire and EMS Club presentation was led by Hailey Harmon. The club is made up of students who want to pursue careers in emergency management. Harmon said the students regularly attend local volunteer firefighter meetings and training sessions and are even able to respond to some calls when possible.

The board heard from Hannah Justice, a WHS anatomy and physiology student, who presented on the group’s efforts to get a used glasses reader working in April. Collected glasses can be reused and distributed to those in need around the world.

Watauga High School Basketball Team Members Isaiah Shirley and Gresham Collins updated the Board of Directors on the Coaches Vs. Cancer Basketball Game which raised over $700 for the American Cancer Society. Players collected donations during the games and made posters to hang in the gymnasium during the games recognizing faculty members, family members and people they know who have been touched by cancer.

Council also heard from Kyle Hollars and Miriam Spaulding of Mountain Alliance. Students report that Mountain Alliance has completed over 200 hours of service so far this school year. Students participated in various local organizations/events including Back 2 School Fest, Todd’s Table, Valle Country Fair, and BUMC Firewood Ministry. Students also participated in a cleanup of the South Fork of the New River on the Greenway in Boone and prepared a meal at WHS which was then brought to Hospitality House to feed their residents and those in need.

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