Civic Engagement


Civics Engagement Projects are new to Dr. Harmon’s Civics 8 course. Dr. Harmon has been thinking about implementing this project for a few years, but he finally worked out the logistics this year. Dr. Harmon’s purpose was to get the 8th grade students actively engaged in local, state, national, and/or global communities in order to develop their civic identity.  Each student has to do one project every semester. The students are permitted to work individually or as a group.

For example, Kolby Barrett and Jack Shaffer picked up 428 pounds of garbage on the Putneyville Hill on October 6.  Jack said, “We were thinking of problems in both of our areas and came up with the idea of the Putneyville Hill road.” Kolby added, “The community deserved a clean hill/road.”   They had many logistics to solve to make the project happen.  They needed to make sure they were both available at the time, get the items they needed to clean the hill, and make sure the weather was okay.  Jack said his dad, Dr. Chad Shaffer, a school board member, and Tom Seidle, the township supervisor, helped them by chaperoning.   By doing this project, they learned never litter, no matter how little, because it affects the community.  For their next Civics Engagement Project, Kolby and Jack are planning to clean up a graveyard site that the township struggles to maintain. Many veterans are buried there.

Another great project was done by Makayla Monrean, Ryley Pago, and Mackayla Males. Makayla, Mackayla, and Ryley cleaned the Redbank Valley Community Trails.  They believed that cleaning the trails would help the community be a healthier and cleaner place. It was a lot of preparation, for they had to make phone calls to get permission, but in the end it was very fun.  They walked from the Pottery Field in Hawthorn to the fire department  in New Bethlehem, taking them three hours.  At the end of the trip,  they had three full garbage bags of trash picked up off the trails.  For their next project, Makayla, Mackayla, and Ryley are planning to make a hashtag for our school.

Dr. Harmon said he is definitely going to keep this project for  future years because it has inspired students to consider the needs of their community.  Dr. Harmon would someday like to see this project as a graduation requirement for Redbank Valley students.