ASPIRE students impact community and themselves |

ASPIRE students impact community and themselves

ASPIRE junior Dameon Johnson presents his community service project to peers Thursday.

ASPIRE Academy High School students presented how simple acts of kindness and selflessness can impact a community and themselves to their peers Thursday.

“Character is how you treat those who can do nothing for you,” ASPIRE student Jazmin Down quoted Malcolm S. Forbes during her presentation. “I think that is what this project is all about and the idea of not expecting something in return and simply doing it because you want to.”

As part of a Values Clarification program at the high school students are required to commit to at least five hours of community service each semester then present the experience to their peers, Principal Marty Swisher said.

“Students pick their projects based on where or what they find value in,” Swisher said. “It’s the idea of making connections and paying it forward.”

Student topics ranged from service at local craft fair, the school, clothing and food drives, the turkey trot and more.

Sophomore Jace Grant chose the Douglas County Parks and Recreation Center because he wanted to give back after an employee helped his family.

“When we first moved here, one of the employees helped my family during a time of need so I wanted to give back in some way,” he said.

During his service hours Grant relieved Lampe Park of litter, did some yard work and cleaned up around the tennis court.

“It was a really neat experience,” he said. “People would see me at the park working and tell me I’m doing a great job and it just felt good to be recognized in that way.”

The students also added traits they embodied during the experience such as responsibility and respect along with inspirational quotes and service figures to their projects.

“We had to choose someone we look up to or someone you thought of during your project and do something similar to what they did,” Grant said.

Ellen Degeneres, Robin Williams, Harrison Ford, parents and community members were among the service figures students looked up to during their project.

“They all had really great presentations,” English teacher Alecia Rohde said. “I’ve been with ASPIRE for six years now and I’ve seen it grow. I look forward to their presentations, it’s my favorite time of the semester.”

ASPIRE — all students pursuing integrity, responsibility and education — became an accredited high school in 2013. It offers credit acceleration and recovery, a technology-based classroom, smaller personalized education plans and character education for ninth through 12th-grade students.

“ASPIRE has had a bad reputation in the past, but we have great kids here,” Swisher said. “They want to be here and be the best people they can be. That’s what these projects were about, to help them do just that and make those connections to be successful and respected adults.”

Swisher said the school is hosting a blood drive as part of their group community service project for the October Las Vegas shooting victims 8-4 p.m. Jan. 22 at the high school, 1680 Bently Parkway, Minden.

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