Columbus Community students work together to help former school employee

Columbus Community students work together to help former school employee

COTTER, Iowa (KWQC) – Over two weekends, Columbus Community High School students came together to give back to a lady who gave so much to the school district.

“She was a big help to our school,” Daniel Fuentes, a senior at Columbus Community High School, said.

Sally Lewis worked for the Columbus Community School District, helping students for more than 30 years.

“When I was little she was there at the elementary, just to help her out, because she always helped me out,” Fuentes said.

Now that she’s retired, students like Fuentes are giving back by painting her house.

“I love it, I really do,” Lewis said. “I just can’t believe the volunteers, these high school kids giving up their day and to be out here and do this.”

“This is all part of the big Columbus family,” Scott Symmonds, a teacher and head football coach at Columbus Community Schools, said.

Symmonds says it started as a fundraiser for the football team, but quickly turned into a community service project for all students at the school, with help from the Hometown Pride, Paint Iowa Beautiful Project.

“This is part of my way of giving back, and helping show young people that you know, when you give back, it’s a really good feeling, there are always people who need help,” Symmonds said.

He says it’s a way to teach them important life lessons, off the turf and outside of the classroom.

“Probably to work with others better, communication, and just giving others a hand,” Fuentes said.

“It lets me feel good, makes me know that I’m helping somebody out and just hopefully it makes them feel better just makes them happy,” Chance Colby, a sophomore at Columbus Community High School, said.

Lewis says this is something she never would have been able to do without them.

“I feel really honored,” Lewis said. “It really needed painting, I mean, all these years, I do appreciate it very much.”

All materials for the project were donated through the Hometown Pride, Paint Iowa Beautiful Project.

Symmonds says they were able to finish painting Lewis’ house Saturday afternoon.

He says over the last two weekends, students spent around 300 hours working on Lewis’ house and these volunteer hours will go towards an honorary silver cord for students at graduation.

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