Seniors Choose Service Learning for Final Outing

The Senior Trip at Dunn is an annual tradition. But each year, the soon-to-be alums are offered a choice on how to spend their last two weeks at Dunn.  Would they like to go backpacking to explore the amazing California wilderness? Or would they prefer to travel to the San Joaquin valley to help build houses for low-income families? 

This year, 24 out of the 50 seniors chose the service trip, and their work is already turning heads.

This year's service project takes Dunn students back to the small town of Parksdale, northwest of Fresno, where Dunn partners with a nonprofit called Self Help Enterprises, which brings together ten low-income families, mostly agricultural workers, and builds ten houses in ten months. 

This year, Dunn's seniors are working on a site called Parksdale 11. In years past, students worked in other parts of the development -- Parksdale 2 in 2012 and Parksdale 5 in 2014. 

"It is great for the students working this year to have a sense of the work other Dunn students have done before them," says trip leader Kevin Fox.  

Since Tuesday afternoon, the group has worked two and a half days on digging foundations for driveways and filling those foundations with sand; nailing plywood on roofs; mounting interior brackets; caulking windows; and painting, painting, and more painting.  With 24 students and six trip leaders, the families are already noticing progress.

"One of the future homeowners arrived near the end of one workday today and was very pleased saying, 'Wow,  It looks a lot different than yesterday!'", Fox says. "As a way of saying thanks, another homeowner showed up at lunch with two giant ice chests of fresh fruit punch."

The trip won't be all work and no play. Next week, the students meet up with their classmates for a few days of camping and river rafting to celebrate the end of their time at Dunn. 

Follow the action on the Outdoor Ed Instagram account.