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Newton North in New Orleans: Students proud after four days of service



by Leah Budson
Each year, a group of students from this school goes on a service trip to New Orleans to help repair houses devastated by Hurricane Katrina. This blog will give you daily updates, through text, interviews, pictures, and videos, of our trip. The group includes students in the Leadership in a Diverse Society course, carpentry major students, students from the Blue Hills Regional Technical School, and advanced TV production students. This blog will focus more closely on the Leadership class, as the writer is a student in that program.
Day 5: Thursday, April 10
In front of the volunteering center is a wall with signatures and notes from all the people who have helped rebuild homes in the Lower Ninth Quarter of New Orleans. Today, 18 names were added to that wall from the students of the “Leadership in a Diversity” class. These signatures, however, were not the only way the students left their mark on New Orleans. Today, they had finished their fourth day of work helping to rebuild homes after the destruction caused by Hurricane Katrina.
With the last day of work finished, students are feeling pleased with the work that they have done.
Senior Hakule Holmberg said, “It feels good, because I feel like I helped him [Steve] finish that house.”
Senior Mariajose Lozada-Oliva echoed her statement, saying that finishing the work “was such a good feeling” and the work itself was “a good time.”
“It feels so good to finish, oh my god,” said senior Eric Halin. “The work was ridiculously physically exhausting. We cleared out an overgrown lot and essentially moved an entire house worth of wood from one site to another.”
At the end of the work day today, the ten girls painting one of the homes said an emotional good-bye to Steve, the homeowner, giving him a heartfelt card overflowing with notes from each of the students.
Junior Kat Hansell said the ending was bittersweet, “I feel like when you work on people’s houses you form such close relationships with the owners,” she said. “It’s kind of sad leaving them but it’s exciting  that their house is one step closer to being finished.”
Junior Vanessa Ferré summed up the feeling of the group by saying that what they did was “a really good accomplishment.”
“I’m really proud of my ‘Leadership’ class to have done that.”

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