Seeing red! Be on the lookout for Cardinals on Red Pride Service Day

May 1—Students from Newton High School and WEST Academy will spend the final hours of their afternoon on May 3 helping to beautify their community.

Red Pride Service Day is an annual tradition for the Newton Community School District. From 1:15 to 3:15 p.m., Cardinals will be sporting their red shirts and planting trees and flowers and cleaning up different areas of the town. High school principal Bill Peters enjoys seeing students serve their community.

"It's an impressive sight to see 800 students working together," he said. "The benefits are many. Our town looks better, our kids learn the power of organizing for a cause, we help those in need in many cases. It is important to understand the importance of supporting and being a part of the community they live in."

Steven Weeks, a social students teacher at the high school and the boys cross country coach, is the new organizer of Red Pride Service Day, taking over for the retired Spanish teacher Alison Grier. Weeks credited his predecessor for laying down a good foundation for him, and he is excited to see it all come together.

"One of the greatest things is showing the community that young people — just like in years past — are still doing great things," Weeks said. "And a lot of our kids, sometimes encouraging them to get involved in something like this they realize how simple acts really can add up over time."

As a cross country coach, Weeks tries to remind his athletes all the time that some of the biggest and toughest things we do begins with one step. To do community service, sometimes all it takes is to do it once to realize volunteering is something that is manageable and worthwhile at the same time.

Red Pride Service Day is also a time to let the community know that the students are here to help their town and do great things. Weeks said the community does so much to help raise Cardinals, and Red Pride Service Day is a chance for them to give back to those who have supported them from Day One.

"I want Newton to be known as a tight-knit community where we get things done," Weeks said. "...This is genuinely the place to live."