Southern Maine students join Stacyville students in giving back

STACYVILLE, Maine (WABI) - Students from southern Maine traveled to help students in at Kathadin Middle-High School in Stacyville with some community service projects.

Not only did they help others but they also walked away with new connections.

"It's definitely not just about the service part but also the learning part and connecting those two so that they're getting the education that they need but through meaningful projects that connect them through others and their area," said Kala Rush, a teacher at Katahdin Middle-High School.

That's strategy behind place-based learning and students in Stacyville got involved with it after a conversation between their principal and a park ranger with the Katahdin Woods and Waters Monument.

"It's an initiative through the national parks, so the Katahdin Woods and Waters Monument has also been a huge support to us," said Principal Marie Robinson.

Last week students from Casco Bay High School in Portland joined them in their place-based learning project where they learn about making their place better.

"We took on a few different projects. We have painted the library in town, as well as some work at the rec center. The kids also helped to clear some of the trails that have been created in back of the school that have been created by our outdoor education program, so it's been a great week. The kids have really gotten along very well. Immediately exchange phone numbers and I think will continue to stay in touch," said Robinson.

"It was really nice because they just liked to have fun and we had fun while we were working," said Ryan Blakely, a freshman at Kathadin High School.

"They were really personable and they were really a big help. They were such a big help. We really couldn't have done a lot of it without them," said Emma McGraw, a freshman.

"I think it's a really great thing to get out there and be able to help the community and help do things that they weren't able to do. With all the Casco Bay students, it was really nice to get to know a lot of them and work there with them," said sophomore Dawson McKenney.

Their next project is building a pavilion behind the school to serve as an outdoor classroom.

"It's great. We've got the beams all set up. We poured the concrete," said Keegan Owens, a sophomore.

They say this is just the beginning

"This has paved the road for it. I'll definitely start doing more stuff like this. I have in the past, but this is really the start of it," said Emma.

"I hope this happens each year so that our students can see that this is a path you go down. It's not just a one-week event or a one-day event but something you can really use to shape your life," said Rush.