Principal Lynn Robertson said, “It was great to see so many parents and members of the community show up on a beautiful Saturday morning when they have so many other things they could be doing. Instead, they came to give time to their school. It has been very heartening.”
Outside in the parking lot, volunteers applied a fresh coat of paint to the lines in the car rider lanes. Throughout the hallways, parents and children placed new corkboard on the bulletin boards. The sound of an engine filled one section of the school as a volunteer pressure washed an outside area with concrete tables and benches, while children worked to remove weeds from the surrounding landscape and plant flowers. Thirteen new umbrellas will cover the outside tables used during lunch.
Assistant Principal Amy Goff said, “Everything we are doing here today has been provided by Comcast. For every volunteer that came to help today, the company donated a certain amount of money towards the projects we chose to do.”
Just outside one of the side doors in a sunny area, Jennifer Goldman helped construct the greenhouse she donated. It will be used for the garden club, which meets after school. “I heard about the project from Jennifer Goff, one of the project planners, and wanted to help. I asked what I could do and this is what the school chose.”
Through the maze of large sheets of rolled cork, two men pushed old televisions on carts down the hall.
“Due to a grant, we now have interactive learning boards so we are getting rid of the old technology,” Amy Goff said.
“The gym was spruced up, too. All the inventory was reviewed and we threw away everything that was broken. Many of the volunteers brought new balls and things like that to replace the items that had to be discarded. Also, we have done a tremendous amount of cleaning today. I think every window in the school has been washed at least twice by the students,” Amy Goff said.
Jennifer Goff, a Comcast program analyst, was the driving force behind HCES being chosen for the company’s 13th annual volunteer day. “I used to be Amy Goff’s neighbor. She is the assistant principal here and she told me so much about the school. I just fell in love with it and wanted to help.”
“This is a worldwide event. Every year Comcast plans, coordinates and funds the projects completed on a local level,” Glenn Madison, the company’s vice president of engineering for the Big South region, said. “Since 2001 when Comcast Cares Day began, 500,000 people have volunteered more than 3 million service hours.”
Deanna Berry, parent of a first-grader at HCES, said, “Today makes an obvious impact on the school. For example, they are planting flowers in an area where the kids spend a lot of time during lunches, but more importantly, I believe, the most beneficial aspect has been involving the children. They get to work alongside their parents and see their teachers outside the classroom environment. Also, I think they found a new respect for the custodian and what she does.”
It is unclear if HCES will be chosen again next year for Comcast Cares Day, but Amy Goff said, “We are so excited with the turnout today. This one day took two and a half months of planning but it has been well worth it. We all needed a break from the stresses of testing this time of year. This was a great way for the teachers and principals to lead by example and work with the kids to improve our school.”