BYRON — About 130 eighth-grade students from Mountain Valley Middle School spent Wednesday morning doing community service work throughout the towns of Byron, Rumford, Mexico, Roxbury and Andover.

Trudy Cormier, a math teacher at MVMS, said that this is the third year that the middle school has worked to get their eighth-grade students into the community for “experiential learning,” and the first time that they have provided community service.

“We shut down the school near the end of each school year to help the students learn by participating in the community,” Cormier said. “It can be a struggle sometimes to find something meaningful for the kids to do. Luckily, most of them have really taken to the community service this year.”

Several groups of students visited different places in the River Valley area to provide community service, including the Byron Coos Canyon Schoolhouse, where Cormier supervised a small group of students as they raked, collected debris, planted flowers and repainted picnic tables and the back side of the schoolhouse.

Cormier said other students were doing different community service projects at the Mexico Recreation Park and Rumford Elementary School. There were also students cleaning the Frye/Mexico Cemetery and painting road signs on Main Street in Roxbury.

“This is all new to us this year, and we couldn’t be happier with the results,” Cormier said. “Yesterday, they filled up 50 bags of debris and helped organize the local food pantry. It’s gone really well so far.”

The community has also reached out to help the students with their projects, Cormier added, pointing out that Lloyd’s Farm Stand in Rumford, owned by the family of eighth-grade student Emily Billings, donated flowers for students to plant in front of the Byron schoolhouse.

“The Coos Canyon Rock and Gift Shop across the street gave the kids free ice cream yesterday,” Cormier said. “Everyone is coming together and helping out any way they can.”

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