The power of pink?
Hundreds of high school students learned the lesson of service on Thursday.
New Richmond High School had its third annual "Service Learning Day" May 18. Students were assigned to 26 different projects in and around New Richmond and Star Prairie for the morning.
"It was awesome weather and an awesome day," said high school teacher Jarrod Hamdorf, one of the organizers for the event. "We got a ton done."
After last year's weather dampened the day's events, this year's sunny weather was a welcome change. All of the project volunteers were able to accomplish the task before them.
"This was our smoothest Service Learning Day so far," Hamdorf said.
A bunch of student volunteers were assigned to annual jobs, such as roadside clean-up, flower bed planting downtown and brush clearing at the New Richmond Nature Center.
Students also fanned out across the community to pick up food and clothing donations to help stock the shelves of the Five Loaves Food Shelf.
"The drive went well, but I know we missed a few spots," Hamdorf said. "We can still pick up items if someone has something to donate."
A number of new projects were also tackled through the day, including the painting of playgrounds at the middle school and elementary schools; a children's carnival at the high school; and expanded musical programs for area senior citizens. One of the more time consuming projects was preparing the soil at the new Community Garden on Hwy. 65 north of the city.
Artistically inclined students helped out by painting five different murals in the community.
Officials at St. Croix County Health Center were impressed with the mural painted along the physical therapy wing, which marked the beginning and finish lines for patients walking the halls.
"It's unbelievable," said Cindy Prokash, activities director at the Health Center.
Another crew of kids helped the Star Prairie Fish and Game Association and Star Prairie Land Preservation Trust install a fence at Saratoga Springs Park, located east of Star Prairie. The group also removed buckthorn at the park, while others planted white oak seedlings at the McMurtrie Preserve on the southeast corner of Cedar Lake.
"The students learned valuable conservation lessons and provided a valuable service to the surrounding communities," said Mike Reiter, association member. "What a great combination."
Another group of students helped out with buckthorn removal at Homestead Park on Perch Lake.
Linda Jameson, with the Friends of Perch Lake organization, said the 40 students who volunteered at the park accomplished a lot during the day.
"The students indicated they were having fun even with leaves and dirt from uprooted trees falling down their shirts," she said.
The construction class at the high school also built a pergola for "The Space," the community's new arts center. The wooden frame is a decorative piece upon which vines can grow.
Computer wizards also performed free repairs and diagnostic tests for area residents.
"It was nice applied learning," Hamdorf said. "That's what we tried to stress this year. We tried to tie projects into the classroom aspect of it."
Following a morning of work, students and adult supervisors were treated to lunch and an all-school assembly by "Mission Improbable," a comedy troupe.