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ODA Freshmen Make a Difference through Community Outreach Project

On Wednesday, September 12, the Class of 2022 and their advisors traveled to Nathan Benderson Park for a morning of team-building and community service. The freshmen were divided into groups, and then proceeded to different sections of the park with their advisors for collaborative activities culminating in a group service project.
The team-building exercise was conducted on the park’s main lake as teams of 18 students rowed “dragon boats”—long, narrow boats that can seat up to 20 people, with carved dragon heads at the front and tails at the rear—in unison while traversing a course. The dragon boats sailed to the beat of the on-board drums, the rhythm of the drums giving the students aural cues on when to row. The teams quickly learned that they needed to have good communication and be able to follow instructions effectively to be successful. Once the teams had mastered their rowing technique, the boats lined up for some friendly competition. The races were closely contested, showing that each team was working well together and communicating effectively. The advisors who took part in the rowing reported that the students demonstrated respect for their teammates and showed great responsibility for their assigned roles on the boat.
 
While half of the freshman class rowed, the other half spent time engaged in community service projects on the northern side of the park. Students were broken into small groups and assigned to a variety of tasks including picking up trash, sweeping, and painting one of the park’s footbridges. Each group worked diligently, fully committed to completing their assigned jobs as well as possible. “As an observer, I was proud to witness the dedication and commitment of our 9th  grade team. The impact of their service will be enjoyed by thousands of park users over the next year,” remarked Marc Roberts, Ninth Grade Dean.

The project’s intent is to offer each individual the opportunity to work together toward a shared goal, build stronger relationships with classmates, and strengthen core values. By the end of the morning, all of the students had participated in both activities, but instead of being exhausted from their physical efforts, they were energized and enthusiastic about the experience. The outcome of the trip was exactly what the advisors had hoped for—each student had displayed respect, integrity, service, excellence, and responsibility.
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