Valley Christian Academy students help the Salvation Army during Community Day, Friday. Noah Vernau Photo
Valley Christian Academy students spent their Fridays displaying a heart of service during the school’s 10th annual Community Day.
Cory Cogdill, superintendent and high school principal, said that above all, Community Day is an opportunity to provide help where it’s needed.
“We’ve been focusing on ministry at this campus, and on our other campus as well,” Cogdill said. “This is an opportunity to practice what we’ve been preaching — what we’ve been talking about at this school, going outside of these doors and making a difference in this community.”
VCA kindergartners spent the day picking up trash around town and planted flowers; first- and second-grade students cleaned at The Bee Hive retirement facility; third- and fourth-grade students cleaned at Church on the Move; fifth- and sixth-grade students helped the Salvation Army with recycling efforts at the food bank; seventh- and eight-grade students helped out at the Humane Society; and ninth- and tenth-grade students helped out at the Pregnancy Resource Center.
“This is cool. The kids are excited to go out and serve the community,” Cogdill said. “And really, there is an energy; they were all just pumped up, ready to go today and serve.”
Cogdill said the best part of Community Day is seeing the students look forward to service, which he said he feels places students on a path that will last a lifetime.
“It makes them feel like they’re making a difference,” he said. “They see that there are a lot of needs in this community. and I’m sure they’re happy to get out of the classroom and get away from the books for a little while!
“It’s definitely building a pattern of service. We’ve tossed around the idea of making community service a requirement for graduation, (but) we would rather it come from a heart of service rather than a requirement. That’s what we’re trying to instill in the kids here at VCA.”
Margarita Hernandez, fifth- and sixth-grade teacher, said the most important thing for her group of students who helped the Salvation Army Food Bank was learning that there are many people in the world who are less fortunate than they are.
“Don’t be selfish. They need to learn to help everybody and that’s the reason we are doing this,” Hernandez said. She said that after helping the Salvation Army, students would write essays about their experience, which she said allows students to express feelings that may only come about through service.
“They notice they are not the only ones,” Hernandez said, “that there are more people around, and that they are needed.”