Even before the school year officially opens, local high school athletes are planning a day of service to show their appreciation for the community members who support the teams financially and in spirit throughout the year.
Olivia Natale, who plans to practice indoor and outdoor track as a junior this fall, said about 150 students who play sports at Westborough High School will fan out across the community on Monday, August 24 in a mass show of gratitude and service called Rangers Give Back Day.
“It’s not just the financial support, even though it’s amazing, but also the encouragement and excitement for our games,” said Natale.
She said activities include taking walks and having lunch with nursing home patients, tending to gardens and cleaning up yards for senior citizens, and visiting all five schools that educate Westborough’s younger kids to organize first day packets, arrange signs and bulletin boards and help with mulching and weeding on the campuses.
“It’s very rewarding for the teams. It’s a fun experience, and very eye-opening because people think, wow, it’s great to give back to the community. And the community winds up a little neater and nicer too,” said Natale. She said an added bonus is team members getting to know each other and having a bonding experience for a good cause prior to their seasons starting.
“I think it’s a great way to start the season, with some good karma that hopefully comes back to us,” said Will Kelley, a rising senior who will serve as captain of the soccer team this fall. He added that the support from the community creates some inspiration for the popular Rangers to play their hardest.
“It really adds to the chemistry of our team,” he said, agreeing with Natale that service is one way teams can bond before their games start.
“Especially before the try-outs for our season,” said Katie Bretta, an incoming senior who will play soccer and track this fall. Student leaders said the volunteer event isn’t about looking good on their college applications, but letting the community know that support for high school athletics isn’t taken for granted.
Rangers Give Back Day ties in with the reputation for service at Westborough High School, where students often plan cancer awareness events, rake and shovel for senior citizens and disabled residents and read to younger kids without being required to by adults and without expecting recognition for their efforts. Student leaders of Rangers Give Back Day hope that spirit of service stays with students throughout college and careers.
“We hope they find a passion for community service that will carry on with them,” said Natale.
By Ann Kenda/Wicked Local Correspondent
To read more please visit: http://westborough.wickedlocal.com/article/20150821/NEWS/150829058