HALSTEAD — Halstead High School students roamed the city's streets on Wednesday morning, wielding rakes, brooms and weed eaters as they participated in a community service day.
The students, all members of the school's KAY club, went to various places like churches, assisted living facilities and homes around Halstead and Bentley to spend time working on indoor and outdoor service projects.
KAY club members Carter Hiebert and Lakin Farmer were assigned to a group cleaning up the grounds at Halstead United Methodist Church.
"I enjoy it because it's helping out the community, making it look nicer," Hiebert said. "...We have other groups picking up trash downtown, cleaning up the pool or some are going to people's houses and cleaning up their yards."
"Before this, we helped a man move his hot tub into his truck," Farmer said.
Halstead's Parks and Recreation Director Grant Williams said he was grateful for the student's help in sweeping up the leaves and other debris that had gathered in the deep end of the city's pool, along with cleaning out the adjacent bathhouse.
"The poolhouse was pretty bad," said KAY club member Hailey Kelley.
Kelley and fellow Halstead High School students Alexis Frazier and Leah Weber agreed they found their assigned workplace to be a fun one, each holding up a dried-out toy they found in the deep end of the city's pool with amusement.
Halstead High School teacher and KAY club sponsor Claire Clifford said students also went to Bentley Primary School and Halstead Middle School to power wash entryways and clean out landscaped areas.
The high school also had students repainting sections of its commons and removing old mulch from the front of the building.
"We had one group that went to a family here in Halstead who needed some help painting, so they painted a majority of their house today," Clifford said.
As they worked, Clifford saw the students noticing other spring cleaning projects that needed to be done — like washing windows of some downtown businesses and cleaning up curbs — and then taking those on without being asked. She said she hopes the community service day inspires the students — and other Halstead residents — to take pride in the city's appearance.
"I appreciate the community and the school's support of this project," Clifford said. "It takes time out of the school day, but in the end, it benefits a lot of things."
A total of 94 Halstead High School students participated in six hours of community service and were commended by adult leaders on their hard work.
"They (the students) said how much they enjoyed today, they felt like they accomplished a lot and got stuff done," Clifford said.
As she assigned students to groups, Clifford tried to put students from different grades and activity groups together.
"Whenever you're working like that, the relationships you form are different," Clifford said. "I hope it provides an opportunity for them to get to know someone better or connect and form a new friendship with someone."