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‘Day of Caring’ volunteers bolster schools

September 23, 2018

Saturday traffic may have been a little heavier than usual at dozens of local schools, with the third annual Day of Caring taking place around Aiken County.

Pine straw, leaf blowers, paintbrushes, wheelbarrows and rakes were among the resources at hand, with support from the United Way, Security Federal Bank and other boosters.

Among those dealing with the dust and dirt was Cindy Hewitt, principal of Aiken Elementary School. She recalled a good turnout with 20 adults and “a handful of kids” on board.

Teachers and school boosters were part of the team, and some preparation work helped pave the way for plenty of progress Saturday morning. Hewitt noted that preparation started in July, with the word being spread about the need for volunteers to comprise the team of helpers.

Most of the focal points were outdoors, but the interior also got some attention, as inspirational quotes were posted inside bathrooms for third-, fourth- and fifth-grade girls.

Matt Franklin, who teaches fifth-grade reading and social studies at Clearwater Elementary, said his campus drew “two teachers, two parents and a few kids” for a morning of work. “We cleaned up the butterfly garden. We added mulch. We pulled weeds. We repainted some metal butterflies and hung them back up on the wall,” he said.

North Augusta High School’s focus was on landscaping, according to senior Bryson Parler, who was part of the work crew. “We had about 150 bales of pine straw, and … that was kind of overwhelming, but it went by pretty quickly, because we had a good turnout,” she said, noting that the work area was in front of the cafeteria.

“It was a good morning, since we had a lot of volunteer work, and everything went smoothly,” said junior Matthew Owings, who was there representing the Beta Club and the school’s Future Business Leaders of America.

“They made short work of a big job,” added Amanda Wilson, who teaches science at the high school. She noted that some of the students on hand were also with the National Honor Society.

The interior got emphasis at Paul Knox Middle School, where a fresh supply of canvases and art supplies paved the way for painting inspirational messages for placement inside, with such themes as the importance of being kind to one another and communicating effectively.

“The product of today was … at least 30 different paintings to hang around the school,” said Jason Holt, the principal.

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