OTTUMWA — Eighteen Ottumwa High School seniors will wear a silver cord during graduation on Sunday. Silver Cord recipients volunteered at least 400 hours to their community during their four years in high school.
As a group, the 2014 recipients volunteered almost 9,000 hours. While you can’t put a price tag on volunteerism, at minimum wage, the value of this time would be more than $65,000.
The 2014 Silver Cord recipients include Cassaundra Jaegers, Andrina Helgerson, Jillanne Ardueser, Abigal Budan, Katherine Lopez, Daisy Cuautle, Bryan Estes, Charlotte Flanders, Jennifer Klodt, Sydney Swallow, Sarah Kearney, Virginia Kjer, Dillan Mankowski, Mikayla Hance, Averi Cash, Elizabeth Helfenberger, Hayli Beeson and Marcus O' Brien.
Mankowski donated time through JROTC, to his church and Heartland Humane Society. “It made me feel good to help out various people with their needs,” he said.
O’Brien volunteered a lot of time to his church, including Vacation Bible School and mission trips. He likes the feeling he gets from helping others.
Seven seniors had at least 500 hours, including Cash, who volunteered the majority of her 504 hours for Ottumwa Community Players, Ottumwa Community Children’s Playhouse, Heartland Humane Society and baseball concessions. “I love volunteering and have since eighth grade,” said Cash. “I will forever volunteer. I like getting to know people and helping any way I can.”
Kjer logged 669 hours. Most of her volunteer time was devoted to her church, including youth programs. She also worked with Interact and Rotary clubs. Her favorite volunteer activity was working with kids. “They are so innocent and have the best perspective on life,” she said. “I’ve been blessed, so why not give back?”
Budan helped with youth camps, including the OCCP theater camps. She has helped with the three-day camp every year since she was in seventh grade. To reach 585 hours, she also packed meals for the hungry, sang in her church choir and taught religious education. “There is always someone out there that can use your help,” she said.