Three dozen HWS students are skipping the sandy beaches this Spring Break to help make a difference in a number of communities away from Geneva.
Three of the trips are being sponsored by the Public Service Office: 11 students and Assistant Director Katie Flowers are in Norlina, N.C., working in an elementary school. Seven students are at Pocahontas State Park, outside Richmond, Va.; and 13 students and Director Ave Bauder ’81 are back in St. Bernard Parish, La., helping homeowners rebuild after Hurricane Katrina.
An additional six students and Res Ed Area Coordinator Kerry Rusak went to Lexington, Ky., on a trip sponsored by the local Habitat for Humanity Campus Chapter.
This is the fifth year of the Norlina program, where HWS students work in classrooms at Mariam Boyd Elementary School. The trip was started when Michael Harms ’00 was working there as part of the Teach for America program. HWS students are working as teacher’s assistants, tutoring children, and helping with group projects. The group stays in the United Methodist Church in Norlina and also works at the after-school program there. Student coordinator is Cait Allen ’06 of Milford, N.H., who is a Rt. Rev. Robert Claflin Rusack ’47 Scholar.
The longest-running Alternative Spring Break Program at HWS is the trip to Pocahontas State Park, now in its seventh year. Students tackle projects including maintaining trails, building bridges, and constructing and erecting sign posts and fishing piers. Students stay in one of the park’s lodges and cook their meals cooperatively. The trip is being led by Matt Lyttle ’06 of Sommerset, N.J. This is his fourth ASB trip to the park; his third as the group’s leader. He is a Harold C.P. Wilmerding ’92 Memorial Scholar.
The newest trip is the one to St. Bernard Parish, La., outside New Orleans. The group is making its second trip to work with Operation Helping Hands, a program of Catholic Charities in the Archdiocese of New Orleans. Students will be gutting houses so the homeowners can begin rebuilding. While in St. Bernard, the group is staying and eating their meals in a tent city. Assisting Bauder in coordinating the group are Alexis Sawn ’06 and Dale Watkins ’09, both of whom made the trip in January.
The Habitat-sponsored trip involves working on houses in Lexington, Ky. Funds for that trip were generated through the annual Row for Humanity fundraiser sponsored by the Habitat Campus Chapter and the HWS Crew teams. Student coordinator for this year’s trip is Kyra Tobin ’08 of Rochester, N.Y.