If it is true that one person can make a difference, imagine what an entire student body can accomplish when they work together.

That is the philosophy behind Smith-Cotton Junior High’s annual Day of Service. From helping to make birthdays brighter to beautifying the SCJH campus, students spent much of their day Friday helping others and in turn learning lessons that will last a lifetime.

“We really try to stress to the students how they can make a positive impact in our community and provide a service to others in need,” Principal Jason Curry explained. “It’s all about giving back and making sure they understand the importance and impact of donating time and efforts toward helping others.”

Now in its ninth year at the junior high, the idea began when Smith-Cotton High School Principal Wade Norton was serving as principal at the junior high.

“Mr. Norton brought the tradition over from his days at Heber Hunt,” Curry said. “We have done a number of projects over the years from cleaning up the Katy Trail, Centennial Park, reading to and making Homecoming posters with elementary students at Horace Mann and Parkview. We have also done many activities to raise funds for different charities and organizations such as Mid-Missouri Honor Flight, our local fire department memorial fund, Cancer Perks of Sedalia, the Sedalia Animal Shelter and others I’m sure I’m forgetting.”

The list of projects continues to grow each year but all have the central purpose of making a positive impact in the community.

Eighth grade science teacher Jessica Bruce and her seminar class of 22 students were busy Friday morning helping with groundwork and landscaping at the school. From raking leaves and pine needles to planting trees, painting tiger paws and decorating sidewalks with chalk for the Sedalia School District Foundation’s annual Pancake Breakfast on Saturday, the students were busy doing their part.

“I chose this project for the students because they are all so school spirited and care about the well being of their school grounds and nature in general,” Bruce said. “They have gone above and beyond in our school recycling drive and I thought planting trees would give them a good feeling of productiveness. 

“Taking part in a project like this helps the students to understand what it means to be part of a bigger picture, to take part in something that hundreds of people will see on a daily basis,” Bruce added. “My seminar class is a group of hard-working kids and wants to make an impression that everyone will see, they will definitely live up to their high expectations.”

As an alumnus of Smith-Cotton, Sedalia 200 Superintendent Steve Triplett recognizes the importance of the day of service to the school and community.

"As a Smith-Cotton graduate and now administrator, I understand the necessity for a strong bond between the district and the community,” Triplett said. “What Mr. Curry is leading at the junior high is a way to build an early foundation of community service in our students, which ends up being beneficial for all involved."

Education Reporter

Hope Lecchi is the education reporter for the Democrat, covering all things education in Sedalia and Pettis County, as well as providing general assignment and feature coverage. She can be reached at 660-530-0144.

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