Source: Lake Geneva Regional News

‘A Day of Service’ for Big Foot students

by Rob Ireland

May 10, 2012

WALWORTH — In the playground at Lakeland School, Big Foot freshmen Ashley Zittlow played tag with students and kept them entertained during their break.

Inside a classroom, Milagros Ramirez helped a student with a coloring project. In the music room Ruth Feitham and Kallie Waro worked with other kids.

Big Foot students volunteered Wednesday at Lakeland School — a public school for students with disabilities — Wednesday as part of a schoolwide Day of Service.

But that wasn’t the only place Big Foot students went to donate their time last week. At Golden Years Nursing Home students assisted the residents.

At Reek School, Big Foot kids did interior painting and throughout the area students cleared parks and roads of litter and garbage.

“I’m overjoyed with the way it came off. We had 74 kids in total who were all the way from Lakeland School and all the way down into Sharon,” Big Foot Principal Mike Hinske said.

Throughout the day the students worked hard, and when they returned to Big Foot they were exhausted, Hinske said.

Although students who volunteered missed a day of classroom instruction, Hinske said the students gained experiences that can’t be learned in the confines of a high school.

“The Big Foot High School mission statement talks about being productive, responsible citizens,” Hinske said.

The Day of Service provided students with volunteer opportunities that they aren’t always given, he said.

“One of my concerns is to make sure we do things to continue to foster growth,” Hinske said.

At Big Foot High School, students cleaned up the property and its athletic facility. In Walworth and Sharon students cleared about a mile worth of litter off of the roadway, Hinske said.

When the students returned to the school, in addition to being tired, they reported to Hinske that they enjoyed their experience.

“They came back and they thought it was a great day and a great experience,” Hinske said. “So may of them said ‘Boy am I glad I did this. I’ve never done anything like this. I’m looking forward to do something like this again.’”

One student who graduated early and was already done with classroom time also volunteered on Wednesday.

“She said, ‘You just call me and I will be back here in a minute to do it again,’” Hinske said.

Hinske said he arrived at Golden Years just before the students left and watched to students talk and read to residents.

“A number of the kids I had their made it a point to pick up volunteer applications,” he said. “They had such a wonderful time and they learned a great deal while they were there for two hours.”

As for Zittlow, who was running around with the students at Lakeland School, Hinske said she returned to the school with a “huge smile on her face.”

“The kids saw something yesterday that was really relevant to them,” Hinske said on Thursday. “It was real life, it was community and I think it opened up a lot of the kids eyes to the things we take for granted.”