Saratoga Springs seniors give back | Community Spirit
Chato Roque is headed to NYU in the fall. Friday the president of the class of 2010 at Saratoga Springs High School was cutting sumac in High Rock Parkwith 19 of his classmates.
"This is our last chance to do something together and why not have something good come out of it? And this is our last time we can show camaraderie and show what the senior class really has," said Roque during a break in raking.
The clean-up is part of what's quickly becoming a tradition at Saratoga Springs. graduating seniors fan out across town to paint, clean-up and organize churches, museums and parks. It's called Senior Giveback Day.
In all, 309 seniors participated in Giveback Day this year. Some of them needed to do it to graduate because the school requires at least 18 hours of community service from every graduate. Giving back helps fulfill the requirement -- and fulfill the students.
"It's just like a personal reward. You just feel better about yourself, knowing that you helped the community," said Brooke Kimball as she spread mulch outside First Baptist Church.
At 200 years, the church on Washington Avenue is Saratoga's oldest. Students are giving it some curb appeal and getting something in return.
"It gives them a sense of pride and accomplishment. They can ride past here 20 years from now and say, 'You see those gardens? I helped build those gardens,'" said parishioner Kim Fonda.
It's half a day of hard labor and then back to school.
Duane Brown, a high school guidance counselor, worked side-by-side with the students.
"They're tired, but I think they look back upon it and they say, 'You know, we did something good here,'" Brown said.