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January 21. 2013 8:10PM

Beech Hill School students in Hopkinton spend King Day volunteering

HOPKINTON - While other kids across the state were enjoying a day off for the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, the students from the Beech Hill School decided to walk in the footsteps of the civil rights leader by serving others.

On Monday, the nine students from the Beech Hill School, an independent middle school in Hopkinton, joined the faculty and staff volunteering at the OutFITers Thrift Store, part of Families in Transition of Manchester, said Head of School Rick Johnson.

"To serve others is really an appropriate thing to do on Martin Luther King Day, and it matches so much with the culture of our school," said Johnson.

Johnson said he first participated in the National Day of Service, established in 1994 by Congress in honor of King, when he was working at a school in Delaware and experienced how the day was celebrated in the city of Philadelphia.

"The National Day of Service hasn't caught on as strongly up here yet," said Johnson, "but we felt it was important to get involved."

Johnson said that instead of imposing the community service aspect of the day on the students, the kids would be allowed to decide for themselves whether they wanted to participate. No one declined.

"We didn't hear a single kid complain that he had to do this while other kids had the day off," said Johnson. "There was no grousing. They just wanted to be there."

Serving the community is one of the tenets of the Beech Hill School, and giving kids a chance to give back helps others see that though teens often get a bad rap, "there are so many kids out there who make good choices all of the time," Johnson said.

nfoster@newstote.com


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