LCHS 7/8 event

LCHS 7/8 eighth-grade student Braden Oh plants new foliage in the quad area on campus. (Photo courtesy of Peter Day / March 16, 2013)

Guests of this week's La Cañada High School and LCHS 7/8 annual open house will notice newly-planted garden beds, surprisingly clean (at least on the surface) student lockers and scrubbed corridor floors.

The fresh, welcoming campus is the result of last Saturday's Serve-a-Thon, an annual, half-day event that brings together students, parents, school staff, churches, Boy Scouts and other community members to clean up the school.

“Most of the kids are here because they want to give back,” said parent Tanya Pereira, who helped replant flower beds in the quad. “It helps the children by giving them an opportunity to lend a helping hand and make something beautiful. If they participate in this, they learn to take ownership.”

According to parent Brian Palmer, the point person for this year's event, students from the Key Club, PTSA and associated student body receive service credit for their participation. Palmer also was quick to point out that parent Jose Robles, owner of Landscape Warehouse in Pasadena, helped by providing a discount on 300 bags of mulch.

Parent volunteers helped by giving guidance, while themselves lending a hand, to groups of students. Parent Bill Nagel directed a small group of high schoolers with shovels.

“This is the best work crew out here,” Nagel said about the students.

Local Mormon missionaries Sister Allan and Sister Ackley (the women explained that they do not use first names when officially representing their church) also helped to replant.

Pereira has noticed during the five Serve-a-Thons she and her child have attended that first-time students aren't always thrilled with the idea. But after they experience the satisfaction of making a difference — and having fun in the process — they look forward to the event.

Members of the LCHS and LCHS 7/8 staffs also rolled up their sleeves. Tanya Wilson, the school's safety officer, was on-hand with her pet, a pint-sized green parrot. Donning a baseball cap, Principal Ian McFeat helped any way he could.

“I think this is wonderful,” McFeat said. “It's rare to see so many people coming together to make a difference through volunteering like this.”