With the end of the school year approaching, many students were thinking about their summer break and vacation plans. But before Dalton Middle School eighth-graders left for the summer, more than 200 decided to come together and give back to the community.
Earlier this month, the eighth-graders participated in a day of service, working on volunteer projects to help improve their school and their community and to help a sister school in Guatemala. The students could choose from four projects: building sets for the school's journalism program, creating blessing bags for the homeless, cleaning up litter or organizing a car wash fundraiser.
"For the trash cleanup, they walked three miles around Dalton cleaning up trash," said teacher Amanda Triplett. "They went to the Raisin Woods Mountain Bike Park and cleaned up. They found tires, appliances. They really pulled out some awful stuff."
The tires and trash bins they removed weren't just eyesores. They were breeding grounds for mosquitos.
The students who organized the car wash chose a local girls' home and a school in Guatemala as the recipients of the money they raised.
"This is a school we have begun to form a relationship with," Triplett said. "Some of the teachers will be going there over the summer. Many of our kids come from Guatemala, so we wanted to show how much we appreciate their culture."
A third team put together blessing bags for local homeless people.
"They put together 160 bags. They had food, toiletries, socks. Things they felt like someone in transition would need," Triplett said.
The final group built a portable gallery that can be moved around the school and the community to display photos and other art created by students.
For their efforts to make their school and their community better and their efforts to help others, the Daily Citizen-News names these Dalton Middle School eighth-graders Citizens of the Week.