Students Taylor McCullough, 16, and Caitlin Galagan, 16, stand with Caitlin’s brother, Addison Galagan, 19, a recent graduate of Alden-Conger School. Addison drove around Alden picking up donations to an anti-bullying program as part of Community Service Day. --Tim Engstrom/Albert Lea Tribune
Students Taylor McCullough, 16, and Caitlin Galagan, 16, stand with Caitlin’s brother, Addison Galagan, 19, a recent graduate of Alden-Conger School. Addison drove around Alden picking up donations to an anti-bullying program as part of Community Service Day. -- Tim Engstrom/Albert Lea Tribune

Archived Story

Service rained out

Published 10:10am Wednesday, May 29, 2013

ALDEN — The wet weather didn’t exactly cooperate Tuesday with the second annual Community Service Day at Alden-Conger School.

The school was ready to send more than 200 students to do community service tasks in the area, but with much of the work being outside, only about 80 or 90 were able to participate, said school guidance counselor and math teacher Amy Wallin.

Students in middle and high school divided into committees, each with tasks. The outdoor work ranged from picking up trash at Arrowhead Point Park and White Woods Park to painting curbs in Alden to sprucing up the Conger baseball field. Other projects included mural painting, cleaning up Alden and Freeborn and, of course, cleaning up the school in Alden.

Those tasks didn’t happen.

However, the choir still was able to sing in Albert Lea at Thorne Crest Retirement Community and Good Samaritan Society, and the jazz band performed at St. John’s Lutheran Home. Some students managed to collect donations of hygiene products for the school’s effort to thwart bullying. Others headed to the Humane Society of Freeborn County in Albert Lea to perform work, but it was closed.

Wallin said this month has seen much rain — even a rare May snowstorm — and considering a deadly landslide at a park in St. Paul, school social worker Danielle Armbrust said sending kids to the parks wasn’t worth the risk.

Alden-Conger dismisses classes for the summer break on Friday. Wallin said a group will meet to discuss whether to keep the Community Service Day in the spring or to move it to the fall, when Minnesota weather is more predictable.

Danielle Armbrust, the school social worker, said safety always comes first.

“When it is so muddy like that, it can’t always be very safe,” she said.

She said they want to continue to have outdoor tasks because the students enjoy getting out of the school building.

Sophomores Caitlin Galagan and Taylor McCullough, both 16, said they were discouraged by the weather, too. There wasn’t much rain Tuesday compared to the weekend, but there was just enough. The morning commute had sprinkles, then a light rain fell starting around 9:30.

“We did have a lot in store for today,” Galagan said.

Community Service Day was an idea of Principal Brian Shanks. He brought it with him from Truman Public Schools.