Lincoln Academy sophomores scattered across Damariscotta and Newcastle to perform a variety of tasks as part of the annual Sophomore Service Day on Wednesday, Aug. 31.
Matt Leland, a member of Lincoln Academy’s science faculty and the team leader for Sophomore Service Day, said the origins of Sophomore Service Day are unknown, but the tradition dates back to at least 1994.
Participation in the service day is a requirement for graduation, Leland said. The students will also take part in Senior Thank You Day, another community service day, during their senior year.
Students went out into the community in groups on Wednesday morning. Some students went to the Damariscotta and Newcastle fire departments to spend the morning washing fire trucks and doing other tasks.
Other students went to The Lincoln Home in Newcastle and Hodgdon Green in Damariscotta to help with yard maintenance and assist residents.
At Hodgdon Green, a group of students helped a resident move to a new room on a different floor and organized the room in approximately 30 minutes, completing the task just in time for the resident’s nap, Leland said.
“I know that the students were extremely excited by the work and eager to do more,” Leland said.
Another group worked with members of the Damariscotta River Association to do trail maintenance on the Salt Bay Heritage Trail in Newcastle. Students helped move bridges and clear brush, according to DRA Lands and Stewardship Director Jesse Ferreira.
Students also picked up trash on the streets of Damariscotta and Newcastle, Leland said.
Lincoln Academy has deep ties to the community, and community service has been one way the academy has interacted with the area, Leland said. The academy has a number of clubs and groups whose missions involve community service, including Alpha Sigma Gamma, Sigma Sigma Chi, National Honor Society, National Art Honor Society, Lincoln Academy Community Fundraising Organization, Gamers for a Cause, Habitat for Humanity, Interact, and Climate Action Club.
Alpha Sigma Gamma, Lincoln Academy’s service fraternity, celebrates Martin Luther King Jr. Day by doing odd jobs around the community every year.
Leland said community service helps re-establish connections between people, even if they have different points of view.
“The sophomore class has grown up knowing that there is a group of people out there who share all their interests, and they can choose to only interact with those people,” Leland said. “We see this happening all over, from people selectively choosing their news interpreters to joining groups for specific hobbies, careers, or conditions.
“A person could forget that there is a community around them filled with people who either have or would have chosen different groups from them, and we have to all work together. If we don’t remind ourselves of that connection from time to time, we could be looking at a very divided future.”