Hands on Fluvanna

On March 31st, I was lucky to participate in a unique event at Fluvanna County High School – Hands on Fluvanna. This event, held the day before spring break begins, encourages the students to give back to their community. All students in attendance that day will participate in service projects. Clubs, teams, and some classes that have signed up in advance will head out to job sites in the community, completing requested jobs by businesses, schools, and residents. The students who stay behind at the school will work on projects there- packing food, creating plastic mats, prepping bags for USO, etc. It is truly amazing to see in action, and something that more high schools should do with their students.

I was the chaperone for a group of journalism students. Their teacher could not take them because she was assisting with the photography at the school, and had asked for volunteers. I quickly jumped on board. The group had signed up to assist at the Lake Monticello Fire Department. As we headed to the job site that morning, we were greeted with rain. Rain wasn’t going to stop our group though!

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We were dropped off at the fire department and the crew on duty went over the list of things that had been left for us. We were supposed to:

  • vacuum all vehicles
  • dust the insides of vehicles
  • put armor all on all dashes
  • clean the windows of all the vehicles
  • mop the lounge and office area
  • dust the lounge and office area
  • sweep the bays
  • dust down all of the lockers

I still may be missing a couple of things from the list, but those are all I remember. We were also supposed to wash all of the trucks, but since it was raining, we didn’t have to do that. We did have the chance to right before we left, since the rain held off for a bit.

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One of the students joked that we all needed hats, so the firemen gave us some to wear!

The morning was a very busy time for the students. They were hard at work. Every now and then they would check the list to see what else needed to be accomplished, but I didn’t have to remind them to stay on task or to finish up the job. They made sure everything was completed.

The fire department was kind enough to buy pizza for us for lunch. We were allowed to go into the lounge to relax and eat. The kids ended up flipping through the TV and on an old episode (so I was told) of Keeping Up With the Kardashians. It’s definitely not something I was interested in continuing to watch.

Full bellies provided more energy. By this point, we had about an hour and a bit left before we were to be picked up. The two men on duty decided to take us for a ride in the fire trucks. I rode in the very front, and two of the students rode in the back. Upon our return, the rain seemed to still be holding off, so the students began washing some of the trucks before the rain started again.

Before we left, we had a group picture taken. The kids were ready to head back. Well, they were ready for spring break to begin, and would have rathered that the day was done. They didn’t want to spend 2 more hours at school. Can’t say I blamed them.

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Upon returning to school, everyone watched a highlights video that had been put together by the production crew. This video was followed by a bloopers reel. After both videos were finished, all students reported to the gym for Macho Man volleyball. Teams of students paired up against others to see who would come out on top.

Overall, it was probably one of the best starts to spring that I’ve had in my teaching career. It wasn’t a day where students just goofed around and watched movies before break. They gave their hands to serve, and the result was amazing.

Check out the highlights video here:


(Note: Yes, all students have media releases and permission for images to be shared.)

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