Ouray Schools Dean of Students Di Rushing wanted photos to document Community Service Day last Thursday, Oct. 20. We were at the Ouray Fire House, where a group of students had just finished painting the interior of one of the vehicle bays. And each other, by the looks of things: white splatters and handprints on T-shirts and jeans. “Don’t worry,” one white-haired high-schooler said to me, grinning. “It’s latex based.” In high spirits, and with not a little pride, they mugged for the cameras.
Rushing was justifiably proud of the effort, undertaken just this one day a year. “It used to be called the Day of Caring,” he said. “It’s been a few years now. We decided to revive it as Community Service Day.”
Seven groups of 8th through 12th graders worked around the city in bright Indian Summer sunshine, each group with 1-2 supervisors, either teachers from the school, or volunteers with the Ouray Trails Group.
Several groups combined to work on the Perimeter Trail and the River Road, clearing brush and getting the trails ready for winter.
Another group painted picnic tables in Fellin Park. There was the Fire House crew, and a final group painted the motor house at the town ski hill.
Zipping around between the groups, “like a Rat Terrier on speed,” Rushing made sure the work was complete before an end-of-day get-together, with ice cream. Walking up to the motor house team, Rushing called out, “There will be no talking on this job site!” Following which, the giggles only grew more uproarious.
Community Service Day is strictly optional, not required, said French teacher Taylor Chase, helping out at the Fire House. Only a handful of the eligible students didn’t participate, Rushing added, most because they didn’t get their permission slips in on time.
“It’s a great way to give back to the community,” said Chase. “They give so much to the school.”