"We could do that" | VailDaily.com

"We could do that"

NWS EV Volunteer Day DT 5-18-11

EAGLE COUNTY – Eagle Valley High School’s entire student body set out Wednesday to do good, and good is what they got done.

For Eagle Valley’s second annual community service day, students fanned across the area to garden, clean, push, lift and help. They opened the day with a huge team picture, and finished with an ice cream social. In between they were everywhere and did just about everything.

Eagle Valley Principal Mark Strakbein was watching the news one night and saw UCLA do something similar. UCLA sent 7,000 freshmen into various parts of Los Angeles to do everything they could.

“I thought, ‘We could do that!'” Strakbein said.

And so they did. He put Eagle Valley teacher Susan Scott in charge of it and they launched it last year.

And that’s how hundreds of students dressed in identical T-shirts were transformed into an army of volunteers. Wednesday morning even saw something like a mechanized invasion as they boarded school buses and landed all over the community.

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“It’s getting bigger and better,” Scott said. “We have more groups and organizations on board and the kids are very, very excited. It’s a great opportunity for the students to work with the community toward a common goal.”

It counts as school, as it should, and they learned great stuff. Mostly, they learned that life is a lot like a volunteer day.

Yes, of course students are like gardens. You plant seeds of knowledge and wisdom and help them grow – tell that to a high school kid and watch them set new outdoor records for eye rolling.

But there’s nothing like getting your hands in the dirt in a real garden. Or helping someone who needs it.

“We could use the help and it’s great to have it,” said Nancy Muller, who lives at the Golden Eagle apartments in Eagle.

Muller had a bunch of big, strapping high school boys on their knees in the dirt, explaining how gardens should be weeded. You have to dig down deep, she said, to get at the roots.

And that’s how it is in life – if you want to change the way gardens and people grow, you have to get to their roots, Scott says.

Kyla Marx, a senior, likes volunteering and also puts in time at the Eagle County animal shelter.

But even if they don’t like it, they still do it. It’s one of those lessons in doing something because it needs to be done, whether you like it or not – if the seniors skip school or don’t show up at the job, they don’t get to walk the commencement line with their class.

But that isn’t going to happen because all of the seniors were front and center, because doing good is better than being bad.

Another way volunteering is like life.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or rwyrick@vaildaily.com.