Eastside Catholic students give back to community
By KEVIN ENDEJAN
Issaquah Reporter Assistant editor
March 28, 2012 · Updated 9:24 AM
Jordyn Mosher wasn't initially excited about the prospect of working in the muck and the mud.
On a day when most of her 600 classmates were inside doing volunteer work, the Eastside Catholic senior was asked to join 12 other students in naturalizing an area around a new boardwalk on Grand Ridge Trail in the Issaquah Highlands.
"I was terrified, but it's a lot better than thought," said Mosher, whose Ugg boots had already fallen victim to the conditions. "Especially when you can come and enjoy something as beautiful as this. It's really cool to contribute to helping people."
The Grand Ridge crew was just one of 41 groups who spread across the greater Seattle area on Tuesday as part of Eastside Catholic's Peace and Justice Day. Students helped 30 different organizations, doing everything from volunteering in elementary classrooms to sorting donated items at different charities.
"One of the touchstones of Eastside Catholic High School is educating students for servant leadership," principal Steve Schumtz said. "One of the objectives of Peace and Justice Day is to instill the core values of service as a way of life for our students."
On Tuesday, the 13 students, along with their advisor Lynn Kittridge, worked with members of the Washington Trails Association to cover the bare areas along the 600-foot boardwalk. Students built a foundation with logs, placed branches on top and planted ferns to give the area a more natural appearance.
Kittridge, who teaches religious studies and theology, is also a member of the WTA. When she heard students would be doing volunteer projects last fall, she wasted no time finding a project.
"I'm just really pleased that WTA was willing to take on a group today," she said.
The work was just the finishing touches on a three-year project. Grand Ridge Trail, which is roughly 8 miles long, was finally connected a month ago when volunteers finished a boardwalk that covered a water table made up of mostly moss.
"I didn't realize this is what people do, that all this work goes into (trails), I thought it just happened," said Mosher, who lives just minutes from the trail.
Senior Allie Hawes played a key role in helping her classmates overcome their apprehension Tuesday.
"We have to realize that we do have an amazing school, an amazing campus and we're all blessed with these opportunities," she said. "So, I kind of hoped to motivate my classmates and let them know 'This might not be the most fun thing, but we are giving back.'"
Senior Quinn Komen admitted he enjoyed getting out of the classroom for the day — even as the occasional rain drops fell.
"It's something that's going to be here for a long time and knowing we did something to help, it is pretty cool," he said.
Eastside Catholic holds Peace and Justice Day annually as a way to give back to the community. Last year, the school deviated from volunteer work and did a school-wide project that focused on worldwide hunger and poverty.
Matthew Bilsborough, left, works with Washington Trail Association volunteer Darrel Dochow Tuesday to place a stump off the new boardwalk on Grand Ridge Trail.
Quinn Komen, foreground and Chevy Walker carry a large chunk of tree to place in a barren spot near the Grand Ridge boardwalk.