Ten years ago, when all Harrisburg Middle School students were housed under one roof and consisted of less than 400 total students, a couple of teachers had an idea to teach students the importance of service. A few phone calls were made, busses were all set, a kick-off assembly was held and the first annual community service day was a hit. Students ventured out into the communities of Harrisburg and Sioux Falls and volunteered their time at places such as the Humane Society, Ronald McDonald Houses, nursing homes and local elementary schools. Leaves were raked, weeds were pulled, windows scrubbed, elderly residents were entertained and elementary students were read to. At the end of the day students and staff were exhausted, yet returned with full hearts and an overwhelming desire to do this again. Thus began an annual tradition which celebrates its 10th year this fall.
As the Harrisburg School District continues to grow, so has the annual community service day. Now with two separate middle schools, each school participates once a year and over 1000 middle school students get the opportunity to serve. It has become tradition to host the first event during homecoming week, bringing together students as an advisory, building relationships amongst each other and working together as a team to serve the communities we call home.
In a few short days, Harrisburg North Middle School will be celebrating the 10th annual Community Service Day on Thursday, September 13th. Students will begin the day participating in grade level and advisory activities to build relationships and learn to work together. A kick-off assembly will be held mid morning where newly elected Sioux Falls Mayor Paul TenHaken will be the keynote speaker. Following lunch students will venture out across Harrisburg and Sioux Falls to 41 different locations to volunteer and serve. Some of these locations include the Humane Society, the Banquet, Feeding South Dakota, Lifescape, Great Plains Zoo, St. Francis House, Outdoor Campus, local nursing homes as well as local elementary schools.
Countless hours have gone into planning this event over the past 10 years, securing organizations, making placements and bus assignments, and creating an engaging and motivating kick-off assembly to inspire our students and staff. However, every day, hour and minute spent planning is completely worth it when you see middle school students excited about serving and feeling a sense of pride for what they have done. We treasure the moments spent making memories with our students, especially being able to leave lasting impressions outside the classroom walls.