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Days before Owen Middle School was set to open, students were already at work. Montreat College freshmen were inside breaking down and moving shelves in the library, touching up paint in the gym lobby, unpacking items for the Family and Consumer Science lab and setting up a computer lab. Others worked outdoors to weed flower beds.

Montreat College emphasizes service as part of its students’ experiences.

Recently, students fanned out in the area to do service projects in their new community. Close to 250 students and assisting staff members participated in the freshman and new student orientation program, putting into action the college’s mission to be “Christ-centered, student-focused and service-driven.”

The group served at sites at public schools, in the town of Montreat, at Bounty & Soul and elsewhere. They cleaned up grounds and equipment, painted offices and assisted in bridge building.

Owen Middle principal Heidi Von Dohlen was amazed at how much the students did there in one day.

“We’re fortunate to have a growing partnership with Montreat,” she said. “Faculty at Owen Middle had a fantastic time working alongside of Montreat students and faculty as we prepared for the start of our school year.”

Workers at Black Mountain Primary School were having a challenging time getting the school ready inside and out for the first day of school. So lead custodian Mike Allison was delighted by the many tasks the Montreat students accomplished. Students weeded, mowed and pruned beds.

“Montreat’s project helped get the school in great shape, and we really appreciate their help, “ he said.

Ryan Watkins, Montreat’s service and outreach director, said many students consider their days of service among their favorite times during freshman year.

“It was a blessing for us to be able to serve the community,” he said. “And it did great things to set the tone for our students for the year.”

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