For students at the Finger Lakes Christian School, spending a morning tearing down walls at the old Masonic lodge on Route 414 in Fayette was an opportunity to help others.

Eight students and three adult volunteers from the school joined the Fayette Historical Society on June 14 for the school’s annual Serve-A-Thon. In its second year, the Serve-A-Thon was developed and this year “tweaked” to allow students to give back to the communities they live in. The event was coordinated this year by teacher Amy Park with teachers Felicia Leary and Diana Massey and school secretary Jill Goodman. It begins in early spring with a fundraiser before culminating in the Serve-A-Thon.

A total of 95 students in grades pre-K to 12 took part in the day’s events, helping out various organizations and businesses at 10 locations throughout the area.

“We really want the kids to get the idea of service to the community,” Park said.

The day started with service projects based at the school, Park said, such as “packing toiletry kits for the Auburn Rescue Mission, making cookies to take to the local police departments, creating encouragement cards, making weighted blankets,” among other things.

The project at the Fayette Historical Society was suggested by 10th grader Dale Freier of Seneca Falls, who approached Historical Society Vice President and Fayette Town Councilwoman Linda Zwick at a historical society meeting. Freier said his family has a small hobby farm in Fayette and his father and grandfather have always been members of the historical society. He also knew the society needed help with their efforts to revitalize the hamlet.

“It was a good opportunity for our school and the historical society,” Freier said. “Not only to share our love of Christ but to be out in the community helping others.”

The students helped gut the upstairs, tearing down walls and tearing up carpet. Zwick said they also removed broken display cases, raked and trimmed the yard outside and polished the building’s ornate wooden pews. The debris was hauled outside to a waiting dumpster donated by Seneca Meadows.

“Those kids knocked it out of the park,” Zwick said. “They were amazing.”

While the students were performing a valuable service for the historical society, they were also having a lot of fun.

“It’s a time to go out and not only help, but to be with friends,” 8th-grader Aaron Hennessy, of Geneva, said. “Working as a team with friends is always fun.”

And they got to knock down some walls.

“They let us kick them down,” said Kaleb Dombrowski, a 9th-grader from Seneca Falls, who noted that the local communities are always generous with the school’s fundraisers. “We want to give back.”

And give back they did. The students exceeded expectations, completing all work quickly and orderly, Zwick said, with time to spare. She said she looks forward to working with the school again.

“We have a diverse group and it’s definitely a way to bond (with other students),” said 7th-grader Katie Stoudt, of Seneca Falls. “Yeah, we’re just kids, but it’s nice to know we can help in our community.”

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