Hardwick, News

“Do Days” Engages Hazen Students in Civic Activities

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HARDWICK – Hazen Union School’s “Do Days,” on Friday, April 19, allowed students the opportunity to work in the community earning credit for the community service each must earn during their time at Hazen.

photo by Paul Fixx
Student organizers, (from left) Chloe Cloutier, Sadie Gann and Grace Cloutier at an assembly in the gym explaining details of Hazen Unions School’s “Do Days” before middle and high school students began their day of civic engagement, on April 19.

Groups of students set out with their teacher advisors, each group with a unique mission. One group painted fire hydrants and raked, another made fairy potions and sorted the costume closet at the Highland Center. Others read to elementary school students, assisted local farms in mulching and mucking, cleaned up the Hazen trails, cleaned up the Hardwick Historical Society, and rebuilt Hazen’s outdoor pizza oven.

photo by Paul Fixx
Kaylee Ewen and Madison Larabee scraping and painting a fire hydrant at the edge of Hardwick’s Memorial Park during “Do Days” on April 19. Other students from Marc Considine’s class split up to rake the Memorial Park and paint hydrants elsewhere.

“Do Days” is planned for and by students. It is an opportunity for them to take on leadership roles, learn the intricacies of event planning, become civic servants, and simply connect with their local community.

Along the way, students discover joy and meaning in the work, and the community is stronger and more unified for it, say student organizers. Hazen’s Do Day is expected to be an annually hosted event to help students meet the community service requirements required to graduate high school.

photo by Paul Fixx
Devin Rathburn and Chloe Cloutier recording a video with their class to document “Do Days,” April 19.

Hardwick Historical Society’s (HHS) President Elizabeth “Wiz” Dow said, “In the course of three hours the HHS got a good solid 25 hours of labor, which reorganized the Section House so we can install storage lockers, raked out the flower beds and shoveled gravel back to where it belonged that the snow plow had moved, raked leaves from under the maple tree, moved a file cabinet, moved two bookcases, moved more than a dozen boxes of artifacts into storage and helped sort literally hundreds of documents that will get added the already-established collection they belong in.”

Each year HHS has a group of students who come to help. Dow says it is a blessing for the mostly older HHS volunteers to have students move things in minutes that would otherwise take much longer.

photo by Paul Fixx
The “Do Days” student crew at Hardwick’s Historical Society (HHS) moving a bookcase in between learning some of Hardwick’s history included Haeden, Max, Rowan, Taylor, Raine, Chase, Jaimey, Gregory, Brandon and one of their teachers, Hannah. Another of their tasks included moving boxes in the Section House outside the Depot that is home to the HHS.

Students start the day with an orientation to the Depot, its contents, and the work of the Historical Society. Then they get put to work. Along the way, HHS volunteers explain what there is to do and why.

Dow encourages students to ask questions during their visit. Often, it’s simply, “What is that?” This year it was pants stretchers, a hand seeder, and the word “ephemera.” The ephemeral piece was a grocery insert from Eaton’s Market for March 25-27, no year given. Judging by the hairdo of the woman’s face in the ad, though, Dow guessed about 1940. Dow reported that the students were amazed at the prices and talked about the cost of groceries relative to the cost of a car.

“The HHS benefits from the students’ energy and strength. I like to think the students benefit from exposure to images and artifacts of the world before they knew it, and that perhaps that piques their curiosity about what it felt like to live in a world where having a crease down your pants really mattered, or having to seed a field with a hand-cranked device you carried around your neck, or to wonder how we got to where we are today,” said Dow.

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