ELLSWORTH -- Instead of spending their morning in class, students picked weeds, trimmed shrubs and cleaned windows.

Tuesday marked the seventh year for Ellsworth High School’s Annual Day of Service. For three hours students donated their time and energy to the community through various service projects.

Approximately 400 students participated in the day’s projects including freshmen, sophomores and seniors. Juniors had another engagement that prevented them from participating in the annual event (according to a post they were preparing for the ACTs). The group broke into about 40 teams, visiting different sites with a unique service project. Each site was chaperoned by a school staff member. Projects included working with elementary school students, picking weeds around Ellsworth Public Library’s front entrance, helping Ellsworth Chamber of Commerce clean vacant storefronts and visiting the elderly.

Freshmen Landyn Johnson (left) and Treston Lecheler trim branches outside the Ellsworth Public Library. Ashley Rezachek/RiverTown Multimedia
Freshmen Landyn Johnson (left) and Treston Lecheler trim branches outside the Ellsworth Public Library. Ashley Rezachek/RiverTown Multimedia

“It’s great for students to have the opportunity to get out in the community and get to know some of the stakeholders in the community,” social studies teacher and service learning Ccordinator, Anne Pechacek said. “I think a lot of times students struggle to find places where they can volunteer. They can volunteer and they learn a lot of employment skills and a lot of communication skills through these projects.”

Teachers are encouraged to incorporate service projects into their curriculum. Other service projects were based on requests Pechacek received from various community organizations.

“We have a lot of groups that come to us year after year,” Pechacek said.

Sophomore Savanna Stephens (left) and Ellsworth Special Education Secretary, Kelly Bergner (right) pluck weeds from Ellsworth Public Library's rock bed. Ashley Rezachek/RiverTown Multimedia
Sophomore Savanna Stephens (left) and Ellsworth Special Education Secretary, Kelly Bergner (right) pluck weeds from Ellsworth Public Library's rock bed. Ashley Rezachek/RiverTown Multimedia

According to Pechacek, Ellsworth High School students are required to do 50 hours of service to graduate. She said she has received a positive response to the day from the community.

“I think for students to just know that they can get involved in their community and make a difference, that's been powerful to see,” Pechacek said.