Harrisonville teens give back to community on Senior Service Day

HARRISONVILLE, Mo. -- The real world has lessons that schools can't teach.

Students at Harrisonville High School got a crash course in that philosophy on Wednesday, as they spent the day volunteering around their city. It proved to be a day at school that no one complained about.

180 seniors from Harrisonville High School left the classroom behind for a day, reporting instead for public assistance at 30 spots around Cass County, for the school's annual Senior Service Day.

Sarah Bartlett is one of five twelfth-graders washing patrol cars at the Harrisonville Police Department. 15 police cars rolled out clean after the students hosed them down, and vacuumed them out. The only payment they'll receive is a good feeling about her school.

"I love going out and helping people. I think it's a really great thing," Barlett told FOX 4 News.

"t's really nice to come from a school where you're really involved. Your whole school is involved in the community. You try to do things that help your community."

HHS Senior Lukas Hinson and his pals spent Wednesday morning cleaning leaves from the floor of the Harrisonville City Pool, making it ready for swim season.

"I could have skipped school today, but I get to spend time with people close to me. It's nice out," Hinson laughed, while bagging up leaves on the pool's floor, 12 feet below.

School leaders say nobody's forced to volunteer for these projects, but students seem eager to do it anyway. Many enjoy the break from classroom structure, but others say public service is a pleasure.

Their generosity isn't lost on Bonnie Bauer, who runs the Shepherd's Staff Food Pantry, a non-denominational service that provides groceries for roughly 1,000 less-fortunate families across Cass County each month.

"It's such a blessing," Bauer said on Wednesday morning.

"It's an excellent feeling, knowing someone wants to give back in the community, and they've received nothing. A lot of people, if they do anything, they expect something in return. These kids come with their whole hearts open, and they are good workers."

In three years of holding Senior Service Day, Harrisonville High School leaders estimate two thousand volunteer hours given to this community. Teachers here say academics are a huge priority, but raising great citizens is goal number one.

Harrisonville School District administrators say there's a second advantage of holding Senior Service Day on this date -- peace and quiet. Juniors at the high school took the ACT on Wednesday morning, and the silence helps them concentrate. HHS seniors will receive their diplomas on May 12th.