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I am writing in response to Gary Galland's letter to the editor (May 24).

Mr. Galland, you could not have been more off the mark in your letter regarding the lack of service done by Sentinel and Big Sky students. I cannot speak for Big Sky, but as a senior at Sentinel High School, I am amazed every day by the spirit of volunteerism that walks the halls of our school. As the president of our school's Key Club, (a service organization) I have overseen Sentinel students complete more than 5,000 hours of volunteer service in just two years. Mind you, this is one service club of a handful at Sentinel. The students at Sentinel do not participate in one day of service at a water park. Rather, they spend thousands of hours throughout the entire year volunteering for literally hundreds of organizations across our community and beyond. We volunteer for the sake of making our community a better place. We do not ask for publicity of our service because we volunteer, knowing that it is the right thing to do.

In the past four years, Sentinel High School has done dozens of Service Learning projects to benefit the community. They have held two separate USO Nights to honor veterans in our community and they raised thousands of dollars to donate to needy families at our school. They have held sock drives to send socks to soldiers serving in Afghanistan, they have collected hundreds of units of blood, and they have spent thousands of hours volunteering for Hospice, March of Dimes, AniMeals, Community Medical Center and hundreds of additional organizations. At Sentinel, students and teachers have established streamside restoration projects at Silverbow Creek and Virginia City, participated in CanStruction, and raised thousands upon thousands of dollars for the Poverello Center. We have more than half a dozen mentoring projects to work with younger students within Missoula and raised thousands of dollars to build water wells in Africa and volunteer at Watson Children;s Shelter. The list goes on and on and our service never stops. The inexhaustible service done by Sentinel students is astounding.

In addition, nearly all of the awards given by service organizations to acknowledge student involvement within Missoula during the 2009-2010 year have gone to Sentinel students. Organizations such as Rotary, Kiwanis, Exchange Club, American Legion, Masonic Lodge, and the Elks Club have all recognized Spartans above all others as leaders within the community for their outstanding service. They are certainly more familiar with Sentinel's service than Mr. Galland.

I am proud to call myself a Spartan, Mr. Galland, because I am actually aware what that title entails; a citizen who puts their all into the betterment of themselves and of the community.

Before you make accusations about Sentinel you must look beyond the newspaper publicity and step out into the community to see what a difference Sentinel Spartans continuously make.

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Tawney Hughes,

Sentinel High School senior,

Missoula

 

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