As they have for the past four years, hundreds of high school students from Lincoln Charter School, most in matching light blue T-shirts, dispersed throughout Lincoln County and beyond to work on various community projects Wednesday. High school students from both campuses pre-registered for volunteer opportunities in celebration of the 9/11 Day of Service and Remembrance. 

Approximately 50 students went to Hesed House of Hope and Communities in Schools to help with projects there. At Hesed House, they helped clean the interior of the shelter, which included sweeping, dusting and mopping, they stocked supply cabinets and bins, cleaned and organized the children’s playroom and prayer room. They also wrote letters of encouragement to residents, leaving them on individual beds, labeled all bed linens with numbers and assembled care bags for the tent community of needed items such as sunscreen, bottled waters and tissue.

At Communities in Schools, the students helped out with Special Olympics taking an inventory of equipment and T-shirts. For Communities in Schools, they organized books in the community library and helped unload and organize school supplies for the teacher’s resource center, cleared brush around trees and leveled out rocks around the community garden raised beds.

“This is the first year I’ve helped out on Day of Service,” said Cameron Kidd as he sorted Special Olympics shirts by size and color. “It feels like I’m giving back to the community a little bit. It feels good.”

In other locations in Lincoln County, the students helped out United Way of Lincoln County in the Asbury Resource Center, stained playground equipment and the fence at the Lincoln County Child Advocacy Center, cleaned the grounds at the Rock Springs Nature Preserve and at Beatty’s Ford Park. At Gaston College, the students helped to create and update math study materials for adult learners seeking high school equivalency and helped out at the high school equivalency department.

Of course the students used some time throughout the day to visit and browse their telephones but they were never able to sit still for too long. Lori Ann Fortkort, a Lincoln Charter School high school teacher, was quick to get them back up on their feet and contributing to projects. Each group of students was accompanied by a staff member.

“There’s so much to do and such a variety of jobs,” Fortkort said. “We’ve got painters, tree cutters, kids raking, putting up new book shelves, hanging pictures and decorating and some moving things out of one office into another. Generally they have a very positive attitude and they always learn a lot. It’s heartwarming to find out that sometimes, one day like this, will set the course for a child’s future and they may choose to be in one particular area of the community that they never even knew about.”

The students were able to decide where they wanted to work during this day of service and did research on the organization that they’d be working at. At the end of the day of service, they had to complete surveys and detail what they learned about each organization they volunteered at. 

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