Taft School Students Lend Many Hands During Annual Community Service Day

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The Taft School held its 16th annual Community Service Day yesterday, pausing the normal school routine so that all students and faculty could devote their energies and talents to help local public schools, churches, environmental organizations and civic groups. Close to 700 people from Taft - including students, faculty and staff - fanned out across the greater Waterbury area to work on more than 30 different projects.

Headmaster Willy MacMullen and Students at Flanders Nature Center in Woodbury, Photo Credit: Yee-Fun Yin

This day is about Taft living out its motto, ‘Not to be served but to serve.’ It is highly fitting and vastly important for us to expose students to service opportunities in the local community.

The Taft School held its 16th annual Community Service Day yesterday, pausing the normal school routine so that all students and faculty could devote their energies and talents to help local public schools, churches, environmental organizations and civic groups. Close to 700 people from Taft - including students, faculty and staff - fanned out across the greater Waterbury area to work on more than 30 different projects.

“This day is about Taft living out its motto, ‘Not to be served but to serve’,” said Jeremy Clifford, program coordinator. “It is highly fitting and vastly important for us to expose students to service opportunities in the local community.”

A number of significant new outreach projects were added this year. Taft’s entire football team and coaching staff helped the Police Activity League (PAL) in Waterbury to clear a dump site, so that eventually it can be turned into a playing field for the town of Waterbury, and to paint a recreation center. In another new project, students helped clear invasive plant species for the Bent in the River Audubon Center in Southbury. Also, a Taft service group re-painted the exterior of the Nova Scotia Schoolhouse in the center of Watertown.

In addition to new outreach, Taft helped organizations that have been a part of its Community Service Day for years, such as Flanders Nature Center, White Memorial Foundation, YMCA, Connecticut Forest and Parks Association and the Watertown public schools. Other repeat projects include yard and maintenance assistance at local houses of worship and choral and instrumental performances at elderly care groups and local public schools.

The day also brought 140 third graders from the Polk and Judson Schools to attend workshops at Taft on art, field hockey, volleyball, science, French food and more. Taft students and faculty also traveled to the Polk and Judson Schools to give workshops in music, basketball, and improvisational theater and to John Trumbull School to serve as classroom helpers.

Peter Pan Bus Lines provided some of the day’s transportation to various work sites.

For more information on Taft’s community service initiatives and the organizations Taft helps, please visit http://www.taftschool.org/non/whoweworkwith.aspx.

The Taft School is an independent boarding and day school for 588 boys and girls in grades nine through post graduate. Founded in 1890 by Horace Dutton Taft, younger brother of President William Howard Taft, the school moved to Watertown in 1893. More than a century later, its motto of service—Not to be served but to serve—remains central to the school’s mission today.

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Maggie Dietrich
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