Augusta Preparatory Day School’s entire student body and faculty took a break from exercising their minds recently to work with their hands.
For the school’s inaugural Service Day on March 26, Augusta Prep pupils, teachers and administrators abandoned pens and pencils for rakes and shovels as they worked on beautification and volunteer projects at their Martinez campus and in the community.
Lower and middle school pupils raked, mulched and added stepping stones to a playground at the Flowing Wells Road campus. Many high school students took on volunteer projects at such locations as Goodwill Industries and CSRA Happy Tails Rescue Inc.
“A well-rounded education should be more than developing the mind,” said Augusta Prep Director of Development Melissa Hemesath as she assisted students with landscaping projects at a Happy Tails foster home in Appling. “We wanted to show them the opportunities they have to help in their community.
“Hopefully, they’ll take those lessons with them as they move on to college and careers. Hopefully, it’ll inspire them to want to make the world a better place.”
Betsy Houston, an Augusta Prep senior, washed one of the 55 foster dogs cared for by Happy Tails.
“I’ve volunteered at my church, but I’ve never done anything like this,” said the 18-year-old. “It’s a good feeling to do something that can make a difference.”
Houston’s classmates also washed and walked dogs, and spread mulch.
Other students wrote letters to U.S. troops stationed overseas or tutored job seekers at Goodwill, Hemesath said.
Augusta Prep Head of Schools Becky Gilmore said the experience is one she intends to continue at least once each school year.
“My feeling is that education takes place outside the classroom as well as within the classroom walls,” Gilmore said. “We really want to bill (Service Day) with our parents and the community as a Prep cares day. That is a theme you will hear again and again in the coming years.”