“It’s really powerful to get out of the classroom,” MHS principal Shannon Fierro said. “Learning can happen in lots of places.”
Fierro said, on Friday morning of May 4, MHS boarded two buses heading in opposite directions for their service learning field trip. Freshman and juniors headed to the Alameda County Food bank, while sophomores and seniors drove to Lake Merrit for a clean up headed by the local Parks and Recreation Department.
“Those are both organisations that directly support people and spaces we directly have contact with and are part of our community,” Fierro said.
Junior Nick Wilde said, they shucked and bagged corn in the Alameda County Food Bank warehouse which would be provided as a fresh option for people in need.
“I think everyone should do [community service],” freshman Ang Lee said. “[The Alameda County Food Bank] is a great place to do it because you learn a lot and it’s kind of relaxing to just be cutting all the corn.”
According to the Alameda County Food bank, the MHS students as well as the other volunteers shucked about 5,500 pounds of corn which would feed roughly 400 families.
“[The food bank staff members said] one in five families go to the food bank at some point during the year,” Lee said. “Being able to see the direct impact of what you’ve been doing is humbling.”
Wilde said, the experience made him acutely aware of his privilege and how much he can do to make a difference.
“[The people who go to the food bank] still have jobs but sometimes you only have enough money to pay bills,” freshman Harmonee Ross said. “We are giving them healthy food, a great alternative to fast food.”
While half the school was there, the other half spent the day cleaning up Lake Merritt. Using nets, poles, and gloves, they diligently picked up the profuse amounts of trash that line the lake, sophomore Daniel Bowman said.
“The smell was horrible, but it was cool,” sophomore Naimah Thompson said. “It made me feel really good about myself.”
Bowman said that while they did not even clean a quarter of the lake, they saw three other groups cleaning too, creating a sense of community.
“I felt pretty good from it, but I felt like we could have done more,” Bowman said.
Although MHS did not do an event like this last year, it was a priority for them this year to be part of an connect with the larger community, Fierro said.
“There has been an increased desire by the students, the staff, and myself to focus outward,” Fierro said.
Bowman said, this was the second service event of the year, the first being a book drive.
“[Community service] feels good because I get to see that when we say that Millennium is a community, it’s not just as a school, but it’s as a whole for the Alameda County,” Ross said.