OTTAWA — More than 60 eighth grade students from Glandorf Elementary School rolled up their sleeves Wednesday to participate in a service day in Putnam County.
The students participated in service projects at St. John’s Parish, Trinity Methodist Church, The Meadows of Ottawa, Putnam County Thrift Store Distribution Center and Putnam County Recycling Center.
Scott Ketner, Glandorf principal, said the idea for the service projects started four years ago.
“Part of what I try to emphasize to the kids throughout the school year is the idea of becoming a leader and also a vital part of their school and community,” Ketner said.
St. John’s Parish Rev. Tony Fortman said he hopes the students learn about service.
“Jesus taught us to be servants, to be people of prayer and service. These children will hopefully learn how to be servants,” Fortman said. “If you come as a servant in life, you will never be disappointed in life.”
Students cleaned pews, brought out Christmas decorations and cleaned desks and chalkboards at the Parish Center.
Jayla Utrup, a Glandorf eighth grader, used cleaning supplies to clean desks at the Parish.
“Leadership is this month’s character trait at school. I’m learning a lot about leadership,” Utrup said,
Carrianne Schroeder, a language arts teacher, said she hoped the service projects taught students to be leaders.
“We hope that they step up and take roles as leaders and realize they are giving back to the community and that everything they are doing will help other people,” Schroeder said.
Students served lunch to residents at The Meadows of Ottawa and walked down the halls singing “Jingle Bells,” “O Holy Night,” “Joy To The World” and “Frosty The Snowman.” They also passed out Christmas cards they had made and performed Christmas skits they had rehearsed in their language arts classes.
Jim Sherry, The Meadows of Ottawa executive director, said the interaction is great for the residents and students.
“The residents thoroughly enjoy the students coming here,” Sherry said.
He added that there have been studies done that prove mixing generations together is a good thing for learning.
The students cleaned the area at Trinity Methodist Church where the food pantry is located. They took inventory of food and toys at the Putnam County Thrift Store and sorted cardboard and newspapers at the Putnam County Recycling Center.
Reach Jennifer Peryam at 567-242-0362.