Physical Education of a Different Kind

In Macon, Georgia, students from Meridian High School students should have had their gym period with their physical education teachers, Deana Williams and Mike Stogsdill, but instead, on Wednesday and Thursday, they dressed up in their Halloween clothes and did physical education of a different kind.

Williams knew which residents in the neighborhood were elderly or had problems with their health so she took the kids on a bus to their homes and Stogsdill drove behind the bus with a trailer which contained rakes for sweeping and plastic bags.

The residents who had been chosen had no idea that the students were coming and were surprised to see the students pour off the bus in costume and even more surprised when they began to clean up the yards and rake the leaves.

One of the residents, 84 year old Joann Black, had seen the leaves which covered her yard and knew there was no way she could rake them all up, and so she was delighted when she saw the high school students, calling them a godsend.

The students were also happy to do the work, because those who did the raking were let off the one mile run that week and many of them agreed that raking was better than running. For some of them it was the first time they had cleaned up leaves but they quickly learned the best way to do it.

In addition, the time spent raking also counted towards the 10 hours of community service which each student must carry out and changed the opinion of some resident who had previously not thought that highly of high school kids.

Stogsdill thought that by the time the 200 students had finished on Thursday they had filled 400 bags with leaves.