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Students Use Service Learning to Improve Local Economy

by Guadalupe G.

Murtaugh School District is nestled in an agricultural area in southeast Idaho, just off of Highway 30. In an effort to encourage visitors to explore what Murtaugh has to offer, local students used their service-learning project to create a community entrance. Upon completion, the entrance will be an attractive and inviting incentive for highway passerby’s to stop in.

The students have worked closely with the Idaho Transportation Department to meet the requirements for designing an entrance. Their committee consists of ten students from 6th grade to 11th grade, all who are dedicated to improving their town and increasing community pride. These students have worked diligently to design an entrance in collaboration with local business that share their pride in Murtaugh. Students brainstormed and selected the sign lettering, color theme, community slogan and content.

Currently, all design work has been done, permits have been filed, and students presented their finished design to the City Council. The site is being prepared for construction in the spring and fall of 2010. Students will work with the Landscape Architect throughout the winter to learn about native plants that flourish with little water, and they will incorporate them into the project.

This student-designed entrance will certainly bring pride to the Murtaugh community. At Murtaugh High School,we believe that service learning provides a way for students to help the community and learn at the same time. This allows students to learn valuable skills such as teamwork and cooperation. Our service experience at Murtaugh has helped me in many ways. I have gained an awareness that my opinion counts and that I can make a difference in my community. Our group has made nearly every decision about the design of our community entrance together, so I have learned that there is never a reason for me to be afraid to express myself or my ideas.

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