IT was a day with a difference for more than 200 pupils who went out of Seaford College school gates at Duncton to lend a hand with dozens of community projects stretching across the Chichester and Midhurst and Petworth areas.
And they returned from their first-ever community action day having confronted personal challenges and learnt something about themselves as well.
The brainchild of new headmaster John Green, the aim was to get the whole college actively into the community to give something back.
“Our students are extremely fortunate to study and live in such a beautiful part of the country,” he told the Observer. It is only right they put something back into it.
“This is our first time where students at Seaford have taken part in this type of community day.
“But I would like to make it an annual fixture in the calendar in addition to students being regularly involved with community projects throughout the year and helping wherever they can.
“It was wonderful to see the staff and students working together for a common goal and I would like to extend a big thank you to Clive Thorpe for organising this extraordinary undertaking. He carefully planned, organised and masterminded a successful day for students and our communities.”
Some 220 students from Years 9,10 and 12 helped out at 20 community projects.
They did everything from climbing 50 feet to the top of a turntable ladder to feeding baby hedgehogs and scrubbing up a war memorial.
And part of the initiative involved inviting 140 pupils from Graffham and Duncton school to a sports and creative arts day at Seaford’s Lavington Park campus.
The man behind the mammoth organisation, director of boarding Mr Thorpe said:“In an age where young people are criticised for not wanting to help and just playing computer games, this has given everyone a real buzz.
“Afterwards we asked for feedback from the pupils in the assembly hall and at first they were a bit reticent, but then one pupil started to talk and it was amazing how everyone, even the shyer students, wanted to join in and say what they had done.
“They felt they had done something different and felt good about themselves. Some had also confronted personal fears – like climbing the 50ft ladder.”