In recent years, schools have been marking the "100th Day of School" with themed activities. Many kindergarteners dress as tiny centenarians. Primary students create collages and collections of 100 items. Loch Raven High School put a unique twist on the event and turned it into a coordinated outpouring of service to the community, and I give major kudos to their achievement!

On Friday, Feb. 3, approximately 800 students at Loch Raven High School participated in a "100th Day of Service." Students were offered a choice to serve in a group activity during their fourth period. Some students gathered in the library and wrote Valentine's Day cards to young cancer patients at St. Jude Children's Hospital. Others worked in the gym to assemble gift bags for police officers.


More activities included making flower pens for nurses at Johns Hopkins; writing Valentine's cards for residents at Pickersgill and Cromwell Center; crafting dog/cat pillows and toys for three different animal shelters; preparing pine cone bird feeders for around the school property; designing coloring pages for local after-school groups; writing letters to active military personnel; creating fleece blankets for homeless shelters; assembling ribbons for Leukemia & Lymphoma Awareness Month; readying boxes and fliers for an upcoming food drive; and sorting items of donated clothing for charity.

The effort was organized by teachers Lynnie Bresnahan and Megan Tobin, and supported by student clubs and advisors who gathered supplies, devised instructions and monitored the groups. Teacher Donna Meninger lended extensive help, having collected fleece, corks, T-shirts, and many other items to make more than 100 products for local animal shelters.

"The event was exactly what we hoped it would be—students were excited and driven to finish their projects. It is truly impressive what a group of students can accomplish in an hour," Bresnahan said. Of course, with so many helping hands, it added up to more than 800 hours!

Bresnahan and Tobin spearheaded the idea as a way to give students a structured time and place to help others.

"We recognized that many students want to give back, but didn't know how or when to do so," Bresnahan said. "This provided a launching point for them to become active citizens and increase the overall student morale at the school. School is more than just objectives and standards — it is a place to shape students into globally engaged young adults who take an interest in their communities."

Many of the projects were delivered to their destinations by the students. The dog and cat toys and pillows were delivered by Science National Honor Society students. The cards for the retirement and nursing communities were dropped off by students and advisers from the National English Honor Society. The police officer gift bags were distributed by the school's Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

"It was an absolutely stunning day!" said Principal Bonnie Lambert. "We are so proud of our teachers and students for our incredible 100th Day of Service."