Students On Break Serve Communityby Joe Holloway - News Messenger
MARSHALL NEWS MESSENGER (1/5/13)- Classes haven’t started yet, but several new and transfer students from East Texas Baptist University are already doing what they can to make a difference in the community.
After they spent Thursday participating in ETBU’s spring orientation, two groups of students visited Mission Marshall and Robert E. Lee Elementary School to do some service projects with the university’s Great Commission Center.
Andrew Alexander is a returning transfer student who helped break down boxes at the United Churches of Marshall Food Pantry in Mission Marshall.
"I’ve always been involved in service projects growing up,” he said. "Because I’m a returning transfer student I almost didn’t do the orientation activities, but I saw they were doing some service projects and there were going to be some new people so I thought I might as well.”
Alexander started at ETBU in 2010 before transferring to West Texas A&M University to pursue a greater challenge in the music field.
"It wasn’t much different of a challenge and I missed the sense of community you have at ETBU,” said the trombone player. "So I decided to transfer back.”
Misty Scott, Director of Mission Marshall, said she was grateful to have Alexander, as well as the other students who came to help tidy up after a busy holiday season.
"We’re always excited to have ETBU come help us out,” she said. "And we’re happy to help these new students get to know their community.”
While that group was wiping down counters, organizing canned goods and breaking down boxes, ETBU had another group doing some light gardening at Robert E. Lee Elementary, where the Great Commission Center had helped put together the school’s new KaBoom! playground in November 2012.
"They’re just always willing to serve,” said Robert E. Lee Principal Kresha Lane, who took time out of her own winter break, which isn’t officially over until Monday, to come help the students plant some new shrubs and flowers at the school’s entrance.
Ms. Lane said she was in contact with Melody Maxwell, ETBU’s Director of the Great Commission Center, after the playground project was complete in the fall semester.
"After we did the playground, she said ‘OK, what’s next?’” said Ms. Lane of Ms. Maxwell. "I told her we wanted to continue beautification and make the school look nice and feel like a home to the students.
"We’re excited to have them out here today.”
Victoria Spivey, who is starting her first semester at ETBU after graduating from Marshall High School a semester early, said she was happy to be out helping.
"I’m glad they do service projects,” she said, though admitted she did run into some trouble with the gas-powered tiller. "I tried the tiller and it kind of ran away with me.
"But it’s going to look good when we’re done.”