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HHS seniors take on service learning, go beyond typical classroom

Along with their math, English, science and history classes, the Hudson High School class of 2009 will be looking for learning opportunities beyond the traditional classroom.

According to HHS Principal Ed Lucas, this year's senior class is making a commitment to some individual or group project outside of school.

"So many of our students are already involved in things in the community and others would be if the right opportunity came along. Service learning is something we have been exploring and this class seems like they are ready to take up the challenge. They are a very caring and compassionate group," said Lucas.

Involvement in service learning is voluntary but the goal is to have 100 percent involvement by class members. Service learning projects can include school projects outside of the classroom, church work, community projects and individual efforts.

Lucas said students have been involved in service projects at the school for the past several years in conjunction with some of their classes. Members of the child development class have provided daycare for parents attending school conferences. Students also worked together to create an outdoor classroom and garden that could be used in a variety of ways.

"Students have identified a need on campus and then come up with a way to address it. We want to see those kinds of ideas and projects extend beyond our campus," said Lucas.

Lucas said service learning projects must be student generated to address a need or problem. If funds are needed, the students must raise them or find the resources they need.

He pointed to student volunteers with Community Action who already are involved in several service projects including fall yard maintenance for the elderly and others in need of assistance, the annual peer workshops on bullying, teasing and conflict management, as well as service trips to the Grace Place shelter.

Lucas said the initial meeting with seniors went well and they have already started to divide up into teams to work on projects like the Student to Student mentoring program, Feed My Starving Children, a Veterans Day breakfast, voter registration, HOME meals, Hurricane Ike relief, Big Brothers Big Sisters, the American Cancer Society, Grace Place, a Raidaire dance camp for charity, therapeutic riding volunteers, Community Action and a Rotary remodeling project.

More than 25 percent of the class of 436, the school's largest to date, have signed up to participate. Lucas said several organizations in the community have agreed to partner with the students to achieve the goal. And he expects parents will be involved as well. Lucas said the school would welcome any adult volunteers that could assist with the effort.

"There are many of our students who are already doing some very important work for the community and who know the rewards service learning can bring, both to the community and the student. We want to encourage others to join in and experience for themselves what it feels like to make a difference," said Lucas.

For more information about the service learning initiative at HHS, contact Principal Lucas at

Meg Heaton

Meg Heaton has been a reporter with the Hudson Star Observer since 1990. She has a bachelor’s degree in anthropology and Native American Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

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