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More than 25 high school students and community volunteers gathered last Sunday to scrub, wipe, tape and paper several hundred abandoned lockers in preparation for primer.
What's the project? Lockers belonging to Yaakoosge Daakahidi Alternative High School, located on the bottom floor of the Marie Drake building, will become a canvas for mural projects this April with help from the Artist in Schools program.
"We're really looking forward to having these lockers painted," Principal Sarah Marino said. "They've been pretty dingy and well-used for a long time. This building is pretty old, and we're trying to make it our own, make it something students at our school can be really proud of."
Sunday's prep work, as well as donations of labor and paint, were made possible by RealLife Church and its representatives, the Rev. Mark Everett, his daughters, Rachel and Hannah Everett, Denis McNurney and Kerry Barto. The project's leading force, Everett rallied volunteer painters from Crossroads Church (Steve Klinger) and Auke Bay Bible Church (Gary and Julie Leader) and about 25 members of Juneau-Douglas High School's National Honor Society.
"It's what we like to call turning church inside out," Everett said. "Let's take the good stuff that's on the inside and put it outside, take it out into the community.
And it's not only the church working with the community, it's churches working together Everett said.
"The Body of Christ working across denominational lines to show God's love for Juneau," he said. "We want to say, 'Hey that's a good thing,' and people should be happy about that. It's all just to serve our Lord and to serve each other."
Grateful for the help, Principal Marino said the group did a wonderful job.
"It's really nice to see the kids volunteering as well," Marino said. "As a school and as a district, we're trying to help build partnerships between the different high schools, so it will be nice for our students to see what JDHS has done for us."
Everett agreed, saying some might think the National Honor Society and alternative high school are at opposite ends of the spectrum.
"But you know what, they're all young people, and they all care about each other," he said. "And their work here today demonstrates that."
JDHS sophomore Kerry Barto was glad there was such a good turnout.
"It was kind of fun coming down here," she said. "Everyone was really helpful, and no one really slacked off at all, so that was good."
"They just worked their hearts out," Everett added. "They're great, hard-working kids. People who don't think the next generation coming behind us don't have anything to offer, they don't know these kids. They're confident, dilligent young people who care about their peers."
The JDHS National Honor Society is led by high school teacher Andrea Stysyszn.
Contact Neighbors editor Kim Andree at firstname.lastname@example.org.