Imagine coming home from work to find all of the leaves raked from your lawn and neatly bagged along the curb – wouldn’t that be fantastic? That’s the scene many Broad Ripple homeowners are seeing thanks to a group of hard-working Indianapolis Public Schools students. On October 22, 150 students from Broad Ripple Magnet High School for the Arts and Humanities put their energy to use in the neighborhood surrounding the school.

This is the fourth year for Broad Ripple’s fall service project, and the group keeps on growing. Pam Dorner-Saxhaug, director of the Rocket Success Center, started with 35 volunteers in 2011; nearly five times as many students grabbed their rakes and braved the chilly fall air to work in the neighborhood this year!

“We have mostly juniors and seniors out here, but other school groups have joined as well,” Dorner-Saxhaug said Wednesday morning. “Broad Ripple’s tennis team, National Honor Society, Student Council and the entire cheerleading team are working, too.” Every cheerleader has to complete five hours of community service as a team requirement, so they took this opportunity to get several hours on the books.

Broad Ripple students have to earn the right to take part in this special day of service. Students must be in good standing with their grades and have a clean disciplinary record for the year. After four hours of yard work, students were treated to lunch donated by Hot Box Pizza.

This project is a true community effort. In addition to the lunch donation, Headlund’s Hardware donated the rakes and work gloves for all students to use. After raking each yard and bagging the leaves, students tied a note to the bags saying “compliments of Broad Ripple Magnet High School, Headlund’s Hardware and Hot Box Pizza.”

While the four-hour raking marathon was hard work, students made sure to have fun along the way. Some turned it into a competition by going for the most houses raked or the cleanest yard.

“We took care of four yards in one hour,” said one young man about his yard-working team, “and we’re picking up more people along the way. Our group is ready to take care of the entire neighborhood!”

These Rockets are showing the community what it means to be outstanding citizens, and we’re very proud of their hard work!