DECA coordinates local community service

Grant Rayfield, News Editor

As the holiday season approaches, many Liberty students and staff are helping out around the community with food, clothing drives, and other acts of generosity.  Liberty’s DECA class is doing its part as well, working with Mountains to Sound Greenway (MTS) to help restore Washington’s wildlife by organizing events to plant/pot trees, and conduct trail restoration throughout December.  The community service events have involved Honor Society, Key Club, and Renton Youth Council in the past as well as DECA members.

The LHS-MTS partnership is now going into its fourth year, coordinated by Liberty students Aditya Seshadri and Katie Kerstetter, who are managing the project along with ecological lessons at Apollo and fundraisers for the DECA area competition.

“We’re really trying to get a lot of people involved, not just Liberty High School students, but faculty, parents, the community members, other schools like Briarwood, and Maywood – we’re trying to get them involved in what we do,” Seshadri said.

For their fundraiser this year, DECA is bringing in a hypnotist in early March, who will have two showings at LHS.  All the proceeds will go to Mountains to Sound Greenway, and students will be able to come in and experience what it is like to be hypnotized.

“It’s not just about competition; it’s about doing something beneficial,” Seshadri said about the purpose and scope of their partnership with Mountains to Sound Greenway.

The first year, the partnership was limited to the pure MTS service projects and maintenance work, and funding was taken from excess funds gathered from other DECA programs.  The second year saw an increase in funding to $770 for Mountains to Sound Greenway.  The first year of the partnership, students taught an ecological lesson at Apollo to one first grade class, increasing to three by the second year.  By this year it has increased to all four first grade classes at Apollo, and will include Jeopardy games and planting Christmas trees.

Last year saw the largest increase in community service work, as directed by Kevin Long, Jack Pendleton, and Nick Turner who focused a large portion of their time at DECA on fundraising and community service.  That year, the DECA program hit a record for number of service projects, and raised approximately $1700 for Mountains to Sound Greenway by selling coupons for Brown Bear Car-Washes.  This year, Kerstetter and Seshadri are hoping to further expand the scope of the project.

“It’s really important to raise awareness around the Puget Sound area about Washington’s wildlife, and doing community service with Mountains to Sound is a great way of doing that,” Kerstetter said.