Instead textbooks and Smartboards, Mattituck High School students worked with their hands Wednesday.
The senior class split into groups and completed various community service projects as part of the school’s first “Day of Service” event.
Over at the Habitat for Humanity house on Greenway East in Orient, about 20 students worked painted walls, ceilings and doors, as well as insulated the basement.
In addition to learning how to restore a house, students learned about mortgages and affordable housing, among other life lessons.
“The experience is definitely different from anything else we’ve done before, especially at school,” senior Frank Imbriano said. “It was really nice to be able to get away and just work with all my classmates.”
Fellow classmate Raven Janoski agreed the volunteer project was a great experience.
“It wasn’t just community service hours,” she said. “It was really rewarding.”
The rest of students took part in the school’s “College and Career Day” on Wednesday. Sophomores and juniors took the PSAT and freshmen went to Adelphi University and SUNY Farmingdale to tour the campuses.
Originally, the school was going to have seniors spend the day applying to colleges, but senior class advisor and English teacher Amanda Barney requested they work on community service projects instead.
“That’s such an individual process for the kids,” Ms. Barney said of college applications, “so, I said: ‘How about we do a day of service?’ ”
Students then came up a list of groups they would like to volunteer with, including: Community Action Southold Town, North Fork Animal Welfare League, North Fork Community Theatre, Group for the East End, John’s Place at Mattituck Presbyterian Church and Kait’s Angels.
They also said they like to help out at their elementary school.
“The one that surprised us, pleasantly, was how many students wanted to go to Cutchogue East to work,” Ms. Barney said. “After the assembly, we had all the folders and the sign up sheets ready to go and they stormed that folder.”
Ms. Barney said community service is something that has always been important to the district. The school has a service learning enhancement program, where students who complete 65 hours of community service get a local enhancement on their diploma and additional recognition at graduation.
“It’s something the kids have done independently,” she said. “So I think it’s important to bring them all together and let them share in the experience.”
Photo Caption: Alec Durkin, 17, works on insulation in the basement of a Habitat for Humanity home in Orient on Wednesday (Credit: Nicole Smith).