Annual, Fall 2023 “Bluejay Way Community Service Day” is a Success!
There were over 30 high school students, plus faculty and local volunteers that contributed and assisted in the annual “Bluejay Way” Community Service Day on Sunday, November 5th, 2023 throughout the Greater Seward area. The day promoted community service at Seward High School and coordinated opportunities for the students to add to their community service hours. The school and community introduced a wide variety of venues to serve as opportunities for the students to add to their list of community service hours or begin their community service program. This year the program was coordinated through the Seward High Key Club with teacher advisors Ross Briggs and Ashlee Rickert.
Each graduate at Seward High is required to complete 30 hours of community service as a qualification for graduation. This is a day of volunteer time that is sponsored and coordinated twice a year-and as a result, if a student completes these two days twice a year, half of their community service requirement is fulfilled.
There were four teachers from SHS assisting with this event. Jordan Hinrichs coordinated the Nebraska National Guard Museum volunteer opportunities. Lynette Petersen was assisting and directing at the Seward County Historical Society Museum in Goehner with a group of seven students. SHS teacher - Ashlee Rickert worked with students to prepare the major floats for the annual Seward Holiday Parade sponsored by the SCCDP and Ross Briggs was the coordinator at the Seward Civic Center with seven students working on a variety of projects from setting up the trees for the GFWC Seward Woman’s Club’s Festival of Trees, bagging tourism information for area visitors and bundling brochures for the Seward County Visitor’s Bureau. Other community members volunteered and assisted guiding the students throughout the event in supervisory positions during the day at the various sites, including the Seward United Methodist Church.
“It was wonderful and rewarding to see these students working “side by side” with numerous, longtime volunteers at all of the sites,” noted SHS Educator Lynnette Peterson. “The experience was well organized and the students could see immediately that their work made an impact on the facility or project that they were assigned. Many of the students also noted that they planned to return to their worksite and volunteer for more hours, as the experience generated an interest in the activities that occurred at that location. In fact, some had never been to the volunteer site before-and that also proved to be very educational.”
This event has been coined, "The Bluejay Way" and it was labeled a success for our students and community. All in all, there were 30 students, four volunteer teachers, and extra volunteer adult and volunteer supervisors at each location, which amounted to almost 50+ volunteers working at five locations for a two hour period of time - all generating community service as volunteers!
“For many of these students, it is their first step into community service and being a volunteer. Our goal is to introduce them to a variety of community service opportunities in Seward and “wet their appetite to do more,” commented coordinator SHS Educator- for the Seward High Key Club-Ross Briggs. “Seward is a great town, known for its many wonderful volunteers and we must continue to educate and build the next generation of volunteers for Seward, Nebraska - instilling in these students the desire to “give back” to the community!”
The duties at each of the locations included…..
Nebraska National Guard Museum - Outdoor maintenance of cleaning up around the building, working with set up inside the museum as well.
SCCDP Christmas Floats- Cleaned and repaired the floats and checked lights and such, in preparation for the big Seward Holiday Christmas Festival.
Goehner-Seward County Historical Society Museum - Cleaned up the grounds around the buildings, cleaned inside the buildings, polished the school house and cleaned and dusted the exhibits.
Civic Center – cleaned out basement storage room, sorted and bundled new tourism brochures/maps, made tourism packets, sorted Christmas decorations and put together the Christmas trees for the Festival of Trees
Methodist Church – cleaned the outdoor children’s garden and gathered the leaves/sticks and yard debris and polished and cleaned the pews in the church.
Each of the locations continues to offer community service opportunities for volunteers. Please contact them to assist with their programs. The event was coordinated by SHS educator Ross Briggs of Seward Key Club. For more information on the program contact Briggs at SHS 402-643-2988 or email him at Ross.Briggs@sewardschools.org.