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Carroll County Times
Carroll County Education

Francis Scott Key High School students honor Martin Luther King Jr. and support community with day of service

More than 50 Francis Scott Key High School students stayed after school last Wednesday to put together “blessing bags” for a local women’s shelter and to craft ornaments and Valentine’s Day cards for local residents of assisted living facilities.

It was all part of the Union Bridge school’s second annual day of service to honor the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr.

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Senior Jessica Andres, right, is joined by other students putting together items in blessing bags for a women's shelter, during a day of service, in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr., by students and faculty at Francis Scott Key High School on Wednesday, January 18, 2023.

Students decided which activities to do and what charitable organizations to support this year, student support facilitator Alethea Miller said.

“FSK’s trying to make a concerted effort to do good, improve student-to-student relationships, caring for each other and having a sense of community,” Miller said. “This is one way we can help support that idea.”

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Miller is also the adviser for the school’s National Honor Society and Students Organized Against Racism organizations, which co-sponsored the event.

She said fewer than 40 students participated in last year’s day of service, which had a focus on community cleanup. This year, students decided to work on supplying blessing bags, filled with everyday items and toiletries women may need to hastily leave a dangerous situation. They also sought to brighten the lives of seniors living in Bethania Care Home in Westminster and Lorien Mount Airy, by creating Valentine’s Day themed crafts for them.

A student works on making a window decoration for a Lorien resident during a day of service, in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr., by students and faculty at Francis Scott Key High School on Wednesday, January 18, 2023.

Miller said students chose the service activities based on what they could reasonably accomplish with consideration to budget, transportation and volunteer capacity constraints, and funding for craft supplies was provided by previous NHS and SOAR fundraisers. The school partnered with St. Matthew’s United Church of Christ Pleasant Valley to supply Valentine’s Day cards to assisted living residents.

Aleana Hopkins, 17, a senior at FSK High, said the effort to make blessing bags for a local women’s shelter resonated with her. The Taneytown resident is a member of NHS and a SOAR officer.

“It makes me feel really good because I know if I was in a position where I couldn’t help myself I would definitely want someone to help me,” Hopkins said. “So to serve makes me feel good, to be able to give someone resources and help them out when they’re in need, because we all are going to need help at some point.”

Junior Andrew Vogel, 17, said completing projects intended to cheer up assisted living residents hit close to home for him, as he works roughly 10 hours a week at Carroll Lutheran Village. Vogel, of New Windsor, works in the dining facilities and enjoys talking with residents when he brings them food. A day of service is a great way to keep King’s legacy of social progress alive, he added.

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Vogel is a member of the lacrosse team, which showed up in force to contribute to the cause.

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“We’re a family as the lacrosse team and we’re a family within the FSK community family so we want to give back to our greater family,” Vogel said. “It just builds a sense of community.”

FSK High Principal Shannon Mobley worked alongside students Wednesday and said she is always happy to provide resources to the school’s MLK Day of Service initiative.

Miller said she hopes students begin to understand the value of community service by participating in the event, and that students find ways to help those in need throughout the year, outside of mandated service hours.

When FSK senior Alehana Messin, 18, of Taneytown interned at Carroll Lutheran Village, she said she witnessed the need for joy and human interaction among the older adult residents, and it motivated her to work on the Valentine’s Day crafts.

Messin said she hopes the number of participants in the annual day of service at FSK grows even larger next year.

“It’s important to do it all throughout the year, not just on one day,” Messin said. “But it’s better to do something on at least one day instead of not doing anything at all. It just pays tribute to (King) and ... it shows respect to all his hard work.”


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