Lindbergh students give back to community

Photo+by+Jessica+Belle+Kramer.

Photo by Jessica Belle Kramer.

By Jessica Belle Kramer
For the Call

Over 40 students in the Lindbergh High School Academy recently gave back to their community by participating in a large-scale leaf-raking effort throughout the school district.
Included in the project was the home of Dottie and Richard Abeln, who have lived next door to Long Elementary School since 1956. Academy students recently joined forces with Lindbergh High School’s Student Council and wrestling team to rake the Abelns’ yard.
Daniel Murphy, an English teacher at the Lindbergh Academy, initiated the leaf-raking project last year after watching his neighbor’s reaction to people from her church raking her lawn.
“Two years ago, a lady that lived near me was unmarried in her mid-70s and a bunch of kids from her church came and raked her lawn and they painted her Virgin Mary statue,” Murphy recalled. “For the next two weeks, I’d look out my window and see her glowing. It got me thinking about how … there’s other people in Lindbergh whose kids and grandkids live in a different state. I thought: Why not take students and get them involved in the community?”
The Lindbergh High School Academy includes students ages 14 to 18 who meet from 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. five days a week. These students have encountered life difficulties and, for various reasons, need a shortened day to meet other life responsibilities and to get back on track toward graduation.
Of the leaf-raking effort, Murphy said, “It’s not community service. It’s community involvement.”
Kirsten Kelly, a new member of the Academy, believes raking leaves with her peers has helped her acclimate to a new school and community.
“It makes me feel like I’m actually doing something good for the community, and it makes me see the Academy and the school differently since they put this whole thing together,” she said.
This is the second year Academy students have raked the Abelns’ yard, and the couple said they greatly appreciate what the students do for them.
Unlike last year when a crew of eight students and six teachers raked the yard, members of the Student Council and wrestling team pitched in and the job went much quicker.