The mid-day sun was beating down strong on the Douglas High School students on May 18, and DHS Interact Club co-sponsors Mariah Boner and Bonnie Lane suggested ice cream sandwiches were in order.
The students had earned it. They had just finished clearing out two of the fishing access paths leading to the N. Platte River off Esterbrook Road, so community members could more easily access the water and take part in recreational activities.
The students improved the first, northernmost path considerably, which until their arrival was a tangled mess of branches, weeds and shrubs.
With some removal equipment like clippers and a trailer bed provided by Stinson Lawn Care and Landscaping, a local family business tied to sophomore TK Stinson, the students cleared a path and hauled off the detritus.
Others gathered plastic and aluminum cans and bottles.
When they were done, both paths and the surrounding areas near the water had been cleared out and spruced up.
All the students, ranging from freshmen to seniors, were members of the DHS Interact Club, a community and global service group.
The project, held in collaboration with the Douglas Rotary Satellite Group, served as the club’s end-of-year spring cleanup event.
Co-sponsor Boner said the cleanup project was something the club planned to continue to do annually.
“Our motto is ‘Service Above Self,’ and each one of our students involved in Interact display a great example of what it means to help others and expect nothing in return,” she said.
Students there were happy to help out and do their part, however small, to improve the public access.
“It beats class,” said junior Greta Thrasher, with a laugh.
Others, like freshman Rocio Flores, were happy just to be part of the effort. Flores moved from El Salvador to Douglas in 2018. She joined the Interact Club to meet new people and get involved in the community, she said.
Members of the Interact Club take part in a variety of service initiatives throughout the year, both with the Douglas Rotary Club’s primary group and the satellite club. Both groups are part of the overall Douglas Rotary Club organization and operate in coordination and sometimes in conjunction with each other
In March, for instance, the group helped package care boxes for members of the U.S. Army who were stationed overseas.