Rake a Difference Day sweeps students into action

Photo by Megan Warbalow

Ahnika Kroll

Fall is well known as a season of giving, feeling and hoping for the opportunity to give thanks. In the community of Stillwater that opportunity has arrived. The National Honor Society (NHS) has focused itself on teaching families the value of hard work while also taking a chore off the hands of the elderly right in their own back yards.

This month, NHS has encouraged its members to engage in a specific activity called Rake a Difference Day. Rake a Difference Day took place on Oct. 26, even though the act of doing chores for their neighbors should be a year-round practice.

Last year, 700 volunteers of all ages raked the yards of 90 members of the community in need.

Senior Riely Watson said, “You know that they’ve worked hard in their lifetime and it’s like you’re giving back to them and rewarding them and recognizing them as a valuable member of your community and you also recognize that you can so you should help them out.”

One of the two advisers to the NHS, Madame Kasak-Saxer, explained that NHS members are encouraged to attend while the club plans future large group activities to involve the community by themselves. She discussed how generally NHS is thought of as an extracurricular that students take only because it looks good on a college application, when in actuality, that is rarely the defining reason, students had plenty of positive outcomes from NHS.

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By Megan Warbalow
Stillwater students and community members work together to give back to the community through public service works like Rake a Difference.

“I think it’s an opportunity to develop leadership skills… I’ve seen students take an idea and develop strategies and means to accomplish their objectives,” explained Kasak-Saxler. “I think [the students] can gain a lot in the sense of responsibility and how to carry through on commitments.”

Though often NHS members are thought of as a group that works as one to earn service hours to put on their college applications, many members can pick out specific examples of how they felt NHS has helped them grow into the well rounded students they are today.

Senior Jake Fedorowski said, “The way I view community service is it’s so easy and so much fun. Like you can look at community service like ‘oh my gosh I hate this’ but if you look at it in a positive way, then it can be a really fun thing.”

Junior Sophia Portelli said, “When I got into it, all the service we did was really humbling, I guess, like in NJHS we did Relay for Life and my mom had breast cancer so that really struck a chord and from then on I just decided I wanted to do as much service as possible because, I don’t know, I guess it makes you feel good inside and it’s really important.”

As the giving season continues, NHS wants to make themselves clear, the service will not stop. Rake a Difference Day is only the beginning for a long road of projects.  “This year for NHS we’re doing a lot of service like the blood drive and coffee house and the food drive and Toys for Tots…” Portelli explained, “They’re all really great causes.”