PHOTO GALLERY — PNGHS students, staff join for day of community service

Published 12:30 am Wednesday, March 9, 2022

About 240 students and half of the staff at Port Neches-Groves High School descended on the community Saturday with volunteerism at heart.

The group took part in Indian Gives, which focuses on city and school beautification, PetsGiving and more from 7 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Jon Deckert, student activities director at the high school, said this is likely the largest group that has taken part in the event.

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Indians Give has been around for a number of years after being canceled last year due to COVID, he said.

The projects were divided up in categories with different student groups choosing their passion.

City beautification included picking up trash in Port Neches and Groves and painting the benches at the Port Neches Little League fields. 

School beautification was a large undertaking.

“We redid the entire courtyard, landscaping-wise,” Deckert said. “This was a huge project. We will now create a vegetable garden to be maintained by the Life Skills kiddos.”

The courtyard project was the vision of Debbie Poirier who is in the food service department. Colby Vanderweg in the district’s maintenance department pitched in as well.

Other projects included creating a flower bed on the campus in front of the competition gym and painting a building at the tennis courts.

“Then we had PetsGiving with Student Council,” he said, adding they collected about 70 bags of dog food plus toys and treats to be given to an organization. 

The group also teamed up with a program to make “mutt mats” from T-shirts. The mats are beds for foster dogs waiting on adoption.

The Leadership of Southeast Texas members collected donations for Christus St. Elizabeth Hospital for people to utilize in the waiting area, such as adult books and toiletries. 

The Criminal Justice Club held a car wash for police and fire vehicles and even a medical helicopter that brings patients to Galveston.

The Indianettes collected items to make blankets for the Rainbow Room, an emergency supply center for Child Protective Services.

Deckert said no school funds were used in the projects and that the students contacted sponsors for donations.

He felt it was pretty impressive for the students to roll up their sleeves and take on the work.