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Day of Caring – April 26, 2024

Be on the lookout for Messalonskee High School students on April 26: They will be deployed across the RSU 18 school district – raking leaves in cemeteries, walking dogs at the Humane Society, cleaning debris on walking trails, and helping out at the soup kitchen among other civic-minded activities. It’s all part of Day of Caring.

Spearheaded by United Way, Day of Caring is an annual event that this year will boast about two dozen schools and programs across the region in which student volunteers donate their time and energy to help the community in some fashion. 

Messalonskee principal Scott Hallett gives Day of Caring high marks.

“I think it’s the greatest thing … It is a way to give back,” Hallett said.

Messalonskee used to participate in the event before the pandemic, which forced schools across the country and around the world to abandon community-based volunteer work.

Hallett said he embraced bringing it back for two reasons.

“It is because students struggle getting their community-service requirement met before their senior year,” he said, “and the second reason is that to my understanding the community was very appreciative when we had it.” 

In order to earn a diploma from Messalonskee, students must submit proof of at least 40 hours of community service over their high school career – the number of required hours is decreased for students who move into the district after their freshman year.

Hallett said in Florida, where he used to teach, schools have no such community-service stipulation, a difference in philosophy that he views as a detriment to Florida residents.

Maine students, he said, are taught the value of contributing to the communities they call home.

“I see more civic-minded students here than in Florida,” Hallett said.


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