WATERVILLE — Taylor Doane raked yellow leaves into piles by the entrance to the George J. Mitchell School, her peers alongside her, doing the same.

Doane, 17, a junior at Waterville Senior High School, was taking part in Day of Caring, a community service project organized by the high school and United Way and sponsored primarily by E.J. Prescott and G&E Roofing.

Doane said volunteering at the school may prompt the kids who were inside watching the older students working to do similar volunteer work one day.

“We’re like role models for them,” Doane said. “When they’re in the high school or the junior high, they can do this as well — give back to community.”

Waterville Senior High School student Vanessah Barry, left, and Malakhi Kornsey reach for high spots Thursday while painting an outdoor pavilion at George J. Mitchell School during a Day of Caring program in Waterville. Christian Beckwith, right, and Khloye Cloutier, far left, also painted. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel

About 500 high school students and 80 staff members worked in the community Thursday at places including the Albert S. Hall School, Waterville Historical Society, Mount Merici Academy, Colby College, Humane Society Waterville Area, Head of Falls and elsewhere, according to high school Principal Brian Laramee.

They painted, raked leaves, swept parking lots and building entrances, planted flower bulbs, collected litter and worked on other chores.


Mitchell School Principal Kim Taylor greeted about 65 high school students and staff Thursday outside the school, where the sun was shining and the temperature was a 38 degrees.

Taylor said the benefit to the school, located on Drummond Avenue, is obviously its beautification, but even more important was the young children witnessing the older students doing volunteer work and taking pride in the community.

Waterville Senior High School students Alexis Harvey, left, and Joel Retamozzo plant tulip bulbs Thursday at George J. Mitchell School during a Day of Caring program in Waterville. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel

Some high school students, many of whom were wearing purple T-shirts donated by United Way, were painting the large, open air pavilion by the recreational fields. Another group was painting two picnic tables purple at the front of the school.

“I think it’s a great idea,” said 16-year-old Sam Wechsler, a junior. “It feels good, helping.”

Noel Frith, a science teacher and advisor to the group painting the tables, said the volunteer work was great for the students who had been isolated because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“It’s nice how excited they are to be out and be seen and be helping,” Frith said.

High school guidance director Lisa Hallen said the business community has been generous and supportive of the schools for sports, field trips and other activities and the Day of Caring was a way to return that support.

G&E Roofing supplied the tools needed for the sweeping, painting, raking, planting and other work, and E.J. Prescott provided shelters, grills and volunteers to cook for a school barbecue and games scheduled for later in the day, according to Laramee.

He said any community organizations wanting to be considered for having work done at their locations next year may call him at the high school, as he and others want to expand the program.

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