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Freshmen Make Community Connections on Service Day

The Class of 2021 fanned out into the local community on Wednesday October 11 for Freshman Service Day while sophomores and juniors took practice college entrance exams and seniors worked on their college applications.

Each year on Freshman Service Day, Loomis' youngest class of students connect with the school's neighbors, bond with classmates, and add context to their Freshman Seminar discussions of altruism, philanthropy, and service that take place during the fall.

After breakfast, the 140-member class, led by faculty advisors and student leaders of the Pelican Service Organization, spent the morning working on several projects on and off campus.

Focusing on the environment, many students spent the morning working outdoors. One group joined faculty members Pete Gwyn and Eric LaForest in clearing trails and debris near the Loomis cabin in Barkhamsted, Conn. At Northwest Park in Windsor, Freshman Dean Mike Donegan led a group of students who raked leaves, cleared animal enclosures, and cleaned outdoor fire pits. On the Loomis campus, student leaders in the Agriculture Program welcomed the assistance of freshmen harvesting produce from the school gardens and delivering it to the Windsor Food Bank.

A number of student groups and their faculty chaperones worked on making connections with people in surrounding communities. At The Caring Connection, the Town of Windsor's day program for senior citizens, a group of freshmen listened to seniors share their personal histories during a snack break, and came away with some new friendships. At Mary's Place, students learned about the organization's bereavement services for children in the local area and helped decorate boxes for messages of encouragement and support. Senior Dean Nick Barker brought a group to Foodshare, Hartford's regional food bank, to prepare and package food for distribution to needy families. Another group volunteered at the Windsor Library helping to sort and organize books in the library's collection.

Making connections at local schools, a number of students helped with indoor and outdoor clean-up at Windsor's Oliver Ellsworth and Poquonock elementary schools, and others interacted with students on the autism spectrum at The River Street School in Windsor.

In the Richmond Art Center on campus, several freshman worked in the ceramics studio making bowls to contribute to Loomis' donation to the Empty Bowls Project, an anti-hunger awareness and fundraising effort.

Both inspirational and fun, according to several of the participants, Freshman Service Day allowed students to share the experiences with classmates and faculty and exposed freshmen to some of the many community service opportunities in which they may wish to take part while at Loomis.

Connect to the media link to see photos from Freshman Service Day 2017.

Photography and reporting contributed by freshman Emma Kane.