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Students to create memorial for Stark

Friday, May 20, 2011

The second annual Community Service Day is coming up May 26, and over 400 Monett High School students will be tackling a variety of projects throughout the city.

One of the highlights of the day will be a team of students who will be building a memorial for the late Christopher Stark and other fallenmilitary heroes from Monett..

"I didn't know Chris personally," said event co-coordinator Ivy Nelson. "However, I think it is extremely important for us to recognize veterans and those who are currently fighting for our freedom.

"The English department often participates in recognizing participants of the Ozarks Honor Flight," Nelson said. "Some other teachers and I have students write letters to the World War II veterans thanking them for their sacrifices.

"I personally liked the idea of this project, because the students will be creating something that will be a part of their community for years to come," Nelson said. "I think it will be a great experience for our students to take dirt and sweat and turn it into something beautiful and meaningful."

Many community members have donated generously to the project, and the Monument Shop in Springfield has donated an engraved granite stone for the memorial's centerpiece. Meeks Lumber is also donating mulch and gardening supplies for the effort, while Lowe's is donating the flowers.

The Community Service Day started last year when students expressed a wish to "give back" to their communities.

Some students have offered to write letters of encouragement to on-duty soldiers and military personnel from the Ozarks. Those wishing to add names and addresses to the existing list of military personnel should contact Amy Sampson at asampson@monett.k12.mo.us with that mailing information.

Some of the places where students will be service include: Lacoba; Monett Health Care; Ozark Christian Church;The Den; the Nazarene Church; the Monett Senior Center; Crosslines; the newest Habitat for Humanity home; First Christian Church; South Park; and and Jolly Mill.

Students will pick their own project and team members to complete these assignments based on their personal interests.

"We hope students will learn that, if nothing else, community service is not a bad thing," Nelson said.

"This is a way to introduce them to the community, meet new people, help others and to have fun with their friends," Nelson added. "Too often we take for granted what great lives we have, so helping others who aren't as lucky is a very humbling experience."

"Students will also see that there are so many needs in our town and in the world that need to be met," said Amy Sampson. "If things are going to get done or change, we have to do more than talk about them. We can always be reaching out to others."

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