Leaves have sprawled across yards all over the Lindbergh Schools community as fall makes itself known. For students from the Lindbergh High School Academy, it's just another opportunity to serve the community. Each fall season, Academy students conduct a Rake-A-Thon, an event where the students rake local senior citizens' leaves.
LHS Academy is an extension of Lindbergh High School that provides an alternative learning environment for students. A school within a school, LHS Academy is designed to meet the individual needs of each student. The program assists students who have experienced limited success in a traditional classroom setting, and those who recognize the need for positive change in themselves.
LHS Academy English teacher Dr. Dan Murphy helps supervise the students and canvas for senior citizens that need the leaves cleared from their lawns. The service project started in the 2016-17 school year.
“The kids feel empowered helping the community,” Murphy said.
Students must complete eight hours of community service each semester as part of their curriculum. The Rake-A-Thon is conducted over multiple days during November and the students clear about 20 lawns or so. Murphy said the students love to help.
This year, one student missed an opportunity to rake leaves, and needed extra service hours.
“I told him we have another senior citizen who needs their yard raked, and announced it to the class to see if anyone would want to go,” Murphy said. “I had eight kids show up. They didn’t have to, but they did, and they had fun.”
The Lindbergh Schools landscaping crew donated 10 rakes for the Academy to use for the first year of the project, and over time, donations have continued to support this effort, including a parent donation of 15 rakes and an entire crate of yard bags from the Sunset Hills Home Depot. This year, the Lindbergh Schools Foundation donated rakes, leaves bags, and leaf claws.
“A lot of times, I think students sometimes feel disconnected to the community,” Murphy said. “So, to have them connected to the community and to each other with a sense of purpose to help out, is just amazing.”