Number of Participants: 250
Hours Donated: 6
Value of Time Served: $12,675
Event Type: Environment
Date: April 26, 2022
Hingham High School
Union Street, Hingham
April 22, 2022 By Carol Britton Meyer
The annual “Harbormen Helping Hingham” community service project coordinated by Hingham High School History Teacher Ben Louchheim on April 14 was a big benefit to the community, from cleaning up the beach area from Barnes Wharf to the Bathing Beach to weeding, cleaning out the animal stalls, and helping with the herb garden at Weir River Farm.
This is a one-day voluntary community service opportunity for seniors who are not on field trips or otherwise occupied, with about a 92 percent participation rate this year.
“I have been organizing this activity for four years, and it has been quite a fulfilling experience to see what the seniors can accomplish in one day,” Louchheim told the Hingham Anchor. “It’s rewarding to see them working with the community to help make Hingham a better place. This year we had a record 15 different sites. I always hope this is an opportunity for seniors to reflect and reminisce about how much this town has given them.”
Other activities seniors participated in included weeding, planting, and mulching the Plymouth River, Foster, and East School gardens; composting and weeding at Holly Hill Farm; helping to revamp the Hingham Historical Society’s archives and other efforts; removing, replacing, and installing metal grave markers in several area cemeteries in preparation for Memorial Day; writing and filming public service announcements for Hingham CARES about making healthy choices; a Spring cleanup at South School; cleaning up the Hingham High School courtyards and painting benches, putting out silverware and utensils for lunch, and cleaning out and sorting sports equipment, among other jobs; helping with the HHS composting effort; assisting with a workshop for Greek essay topics at the Middle School; spreading mulch around the Recreation Department barn; performing a Spring cleanup on the tunnel cap in downtown Hingham, including raking, trimming and mulching — working with the Hingham Downtown Association; spreading wood chips around the Bradley Woods playground; and serving as teacher’s assistants for the day, which involved 75 to 80 of the seniors.
Following the harborfront cleanup, Harbor Development Committee member William Reardon commented in part in a thank-you letter to the crew, “Bottom line, I think the extended harbor shoreline is looking as clean as it has ever been!”
HDC Chair Marco Boer said the annual Community Service day “is an amazing gift to our community and the students — analogous to the old Yankee wisdom that cutting your own firewood warms you twice. The students get the satisfaction of having contributed something back to the community, and the community receives a Spring cleaning that makes everyone feel better about our environment.”
Along the inner harborfront alone, students removed about three trailer loads of leaves and debris and more than 15 large contractor bags of trash.
“I’m extremely grateful for all the hard work the students under the guidance of Bill Reardon, Ed Morris, and Amy Cowan put in on what was a cold and damp day,” Boer said.
A number of students expressed appreciation for the opportunity “to give back,” while another said it would be awesome to have multiple of these community service days a year. It was amazing being a teacher’s assistant, and it confirmed that I want to be a first-grade teacher!”
Another participant said the seniors were “so excited to be at Plymouth River School, and the kids at PRS were thrilled to have them there. It was a great day all around.”
The Hingham Music Partnership Association gave a “big shout out and thank you to Eli Webber and Matt Carr for being the first senior music students to participate in the annual ‘Harbormen Helping Hingham’ day, specifically supporting our younger music students.”
Eli and Matt, instruments in hand, worked with Band Director Joann Bellis and band students at East, Plymouth River, and the Middle School. “How amazing it is for our younger students to have these seniors to look up to!” HMPA members said.