A Day of Service

Posted by Alicia Smith on 11/27/2018 2:30:00 PM

A day of service for the community

Packing food baskets The Alexander Hamilton Junior/Senior High School was abuzz with activity the day before Thanksgiving as students and staff partook in what has become a school tradition to help those in the broader community.

During the annual Day of Service, the entire school engages in activities for the holidays, from packing food baskets for local families to making dog biscuits to be donated to a local shelter. Other activities included a trail clean up, help around a local fire station and band members entertaining primary school children with their playing skills. Another ongoing activity was preparing items and letters to be sent to the troops.

“Isn’t this amazing,” remarked Superintendent of Schools Dr. Marc Baiocco, as he stepped into the school cafeteria. He was confronted with a mix of staff and students who were packing up 60 food baskets to be delivered to local families.

Students and staff had collected the food items for distribution, and the Elmsford Police Department assisted in bringing the baskets to each family.

Sophomore Christalene Mirtil was helping to unpack and organize canned food.

This was her first time volunteering during the Day of Service.

“I wanted to give back,” she said. “I think it’s great.”

“I wanted to participate and help out the community,” senior Jevoy McDonald said. “If you have a chance to give back you should. I think every year we get more and more goods. It gets better and better.”

“I felt like it’s good to give back to the community,” added senior Jaquan Herring. “It’s a good cause.”

Junior Lily Tom helped pack the food baskets too.

“Everyone should have food on Thanksgiving,” Lily said as to what motivated her to help.

Making homemade dog biscuits In the home and careers classroom students had their sleeves rolled up as they were elbow deep in dough and flour making homemade dog biscuits to be donated to the Paws Crossed Animal Rescue in Elmsford.

“I like it because we give back and we benefit the community,” junior Stephanie Richter said as she kneaded dough.

The good cheer did not end there. Eighth-grade students were preparing for Christmas by decorating hand-made placemats, which will distributed to seniors at a local facility.

Algebra teacher Matt Simon was overseeing his students making the placemats.

“Every service day we do something different,” Mr. Simon said. “The seniors enjoy getting something, it brightens up their day.”

There was also a large contingent of students from all grade levels who lent a hand in making Christmas decorations in order to deck the halls of their school.

Sophomores Bailey Proctor and Alyssa Fitzgerald were in the hallway hanging red, green and white paper chains students had made.

“I’m having a good time, it’s fun,” Bailey said of helping her school look festive.

“I wish this happened every day,” was the sentiment expressed by seventh grader McKeever Artis, whose class made Christmas ornaments.

Physical Science and Research and English teacher Sabrina Doolittle was on the stage directing students, not for an upcoming performance, but rather directing them as they organized the backstage area and helped prepare the stage for upcoming holiday concerts. There were old sets that needed to be moved out of the way and risers that needed to be placed. Students were also helping to build new storage racks.

Outside the school there were students helping to clean up along the South County Trailway that runs through Elmsford. Others visited the Elmsford Fire Company, No. 1 on East Main St., to help clean up the grounds there.

“We have students come down every year, they rake leaves, clean fire trucks,” Firefighter Jasin Lulanaj said. “At the end we tell them about the fire service.”

It was a cold day, and the crew consisting of freshmen Corlber Ebouard, Tyrese Kordello Clerge, Kanson Pesantez, Jayden Green and Jaylen Savage were bundled up in winter coats but all said while it was hard work it was enjoyable.

Freshman Olivia Eannazzo was able to stay warm when she visited a pre-kindergarten classroom at the Carl L. Dixson Primary School. She brought along her saxophone and two classmates and shared music with the students who were intrigued with her instrument.

“They were kind of like ‘this is cool,’” Olivia said of the student’s reaction to the music she played. “Hearing the sound was fun for them.”

All the activities on this day were completed before 11 a.m. when students returned to the junior/high school and were soon dismissed for a half day.

“One-hundred percent of the school participates,” Rob Jacoby, band director and music teacher, said. He also helps to organize the day, which is now in its fifth year.

“It’s a group effort,” confirmed Lucie Rambaran, of Community Outreach Partners, which assists on this day, along with other members of the organization, Erica Carrasquillo and Debra Barbosh.

“Mr. Jacoby has done a great job with this,” Principal Joseph Engelhardt said. “It’s a whole community effort.”