G-A Gives Back Day sees students volunteering in the community

The Echo Pilot

On Tuesday, June 4, Gage Clevenger went swimming in the Conococheague Creek near .

The next day, he was back using a screwdriver to dig debris from cracks in the floorboard of the historic covered bridge.

“I was just here yesterday swimming, now I’m here working,” said Gage, who will be a 10th-grader at in the fall.

“It’s community service hours … I gotta graduate,” he added.

Greencastle-Antrim High School students Alfredo Castillo, left, Ana Ortizshaemaker and Gage Clevenger cleaned debris from the cracks of Martin’s Mill Bridge during the second annual G-A Gives Back Day on June 5.

Gage was one of 65 G-AHS students who fanned out across the community for the second annual G-A Gives Back Day on Wednesday, June 5.

“It’s fun, it’s tiring a little and it’s helping to give back,” said Alfredo Castillo, also a rising 10th-grader, who joined Gage and Ana Ortizshaemaker, a soon-to-be senior, and math teacher Adrian Martin at the bridge.

They picked up trash, cleaned out cobwebs and knocked down wasp nests, while upstream another team was tidying up the park in preparation for the bridge’s 175th birthday celebration.

“We’re cleaning up for the 175th … making it look pretty,” Denise Bass, who will be a senior this fall, said while holding a handful of sticks.

Commencement on Kaley Field:Class of 2024 graduates from Greencastle-Antrim High School during June 1 ceremony

The celebration will include a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 1 p.m. Friday, July 26, according to Cheryl Walburn, Antrim Township parks director. The 1849 bridge on Weaver Road, normally closed to traffic, also will be open for a drive-thru from 8 to 11 a.m. Saturday, July 27.

Across town at , a group of nine students and social studies teacher Justin Moose tackled a giant mulch pile early then moved on to other chores, such as raking and trimming ivy.

Greencastle-Antrim High School students Alessandro Aplicano, left, and Ethan Jacobs raked under bushes at Jerome R. King Playground during the second annual G-A Gives Back Day on June 5.

“It’s tiring, but it’s good to help the community,” said Ethan Jacobs, a rising 10th-grader.

“It’s a good opportunity for the kids to get a little work experience and help tidying up, too,” said Lon Barkdoll, playground president.

G-A students also did a 3-mile Conococheague Creek cleanup, worked with the Greencastle Beautification Committee and volunteered at Conococheague Institute, Rhodes Grove, Jerome King Park and Good 51̳ Club.

See more pictures:Community benefits as students fulfill service requirement on G-A Give Back Day

“We have an awesome group of young men and women at our high school,” Martin said. “It’s great they can give back to the community, because the community gives so much to us.”

G-A Gives Back Day was introduced last year as the school district eased back into the community service graduation requirement put on hold during the COVID-19 pandemic, with seven hours needed for the 2024 and 2025 graduates. The number rises to 15 hours for the Class of 2026.