More than 100 high school students spent their first days of spring break Monday shoveling dirt and painting walls instead of sleeping in and watching TV.
These students from 13 high schools elected to spend two days sprucing up the community instead of sprawled out on the couch.
They volunteered for an event called Break Through, planned by the student-led organization One Stone. Students will work on community service projects, meet new friends and hear from community leaders such as gold medal cyclist Kristin Armstrong and motivational speaker Dr. Vincent Kituku.
“Break Through is the most fun I’ve ever had as a student,” said Sienna George, a Boise High School junior. “There’s nothing greater than doing community service and getting to meet and bond with other students.”
This year’s event was based at Capital High School. The students, and 30 adults, met in the gym Monday morning. They divided into eight teams and branched out to work at six different locations.
Students painted, pulled weeds and moved dirt at the Les Bois race track and fairgrounds.
“I love that I get to see all these different places in my community,” said George, while painting a railing at the racetrack. “I’ve lived here all my life and never been to the track until today.”
Justin Goodrich, a Capital sophomore, has a different connection to the track: “My parents come here a lot so I think it’s cool that I get the opportunity to make it nicer.”
At the Boise Parks and Recreation shop, students made benches and planter boxes. More landscaping work was done at Liberty and Winstead parks and various Idaho Youth Ranch locations. Students also started work on renovating Firehouse No. 6 off Liberty Street. The building will become a community and fitness center.
“Actually, this is pretty fun,” said Blake Waller, a senior at Boise High. “I’ve met so many new people that I wouldn’t have met otherwise.”
The students will return to Capital for team-building activities on Monday night followed by a slumber party in the gym. All will get back to work Tuesday. The event concludes Tuesday afternoon with an all-group gardening project at Winstead Park followed by reflection activities about their two-day experience.
“For most of these kids, the total hours of community service doesn’t mean anything — they have devoted countless hours,” said One Stone Executive Director Teresa Poppen. “They want to make a difference. This is what they like to do.”