Ga. students use senior projects to make a difference

By: Katie Beasley Email
By: Katie Beasley Email

News 12 at 6 o'clock / Monday, Nov. 12, 2012

EVANS, Ga. -- For Georgia high school seniors, a large part of their grade is their senior project. Many local students are using the homework as an opportunity to help the community.

One senior project is helping veterans with a charity softball game.

Senior Lee Bellmer is back at Lakeside High School after a successful day combined with homework and helping others. For Bellmer's senior project, he wanted to focus on a cause near and dear to his family.

"We kind of got on the topic of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder because that's what my grandfather suffers from from being a veteran from Vietnam," Bellmer said.

He decided the fun part of his project would be a Celebrity vs. Faculty Charity Softball Game. Proceeds are going to help veterans at the VA's Fisher House.

"We raised over $850 for the Fisher House, so I was very pleased with the turnout," Bellmer said. "I'm very honored to do it all because it's such a great cause and I'm just glad I could help out."

And Bellmer isn't the only teenager getting out of the classroom and giving back.

English teacher Michelle Collins says it's becoming the popular thing to do.

"It seems lately that more seniors are wanting to do something to help out in the community. The senior project gives them the creative outlet to be able to do some interesting volunteer work. It provides the opportunity to do something a little bit different to be creative with how they want to give back," Collins said.

Beauty pageants, blood drives and benefit concerts are all ways students are getting involved.

"It's a great learning experience, outside of the classroom," Collins said.

Soon, these seniors will be graduating, leaving a new class of students and philanthropists.

"A lot of people think the seniors want to take the easy way out, but a lot of times, their first thought is, 'What can I do as a volunteer project or to give back?'" Collins said.

"I just wanted to be able to benefit everybody I could and help out as many ways as I possibly could," Bellmer said.

The senior project is 15 hours of work and can be a variety of things, including a job shadow or event. The point is to get the students away from bookwork and into the community or involved in a career path. It's also a percentage of their grade.

By the way, the faculty beat the "celebrities" 13 to 10.

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