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Published on May 17, 2012
Cooper students, Honeywell employees give Kelley Farm a helping hand
Community service takes on many forms, and at Kelley Farm in Elk River, an all-day project involving students from Cooper High School and employees from Honeywell consisted of old -fashioned manual labor.
"I'm very small so I have to like pick up really, really heavy wood and [I'm] getting scratches and watching out for poison ivy and everything," said Paj Lor, a junior at Cooper. "But overall, it's OK."
Lor is one of 100 volunteers from Cooper High School who have teamed up with another hundred volunteers from Honeywell to construct picnic tables and build fences.
Event organizers say many of the fences at Kelley Farm were about 20 years old and were in need of replacing, but the volunteer efforts of everyone gathered there on Thursday helped save Kelley Farm staff members hundreds of man hours.
In turn, the students learn teamwork.
"Cause you need three people to put one whole [piece of] wood up," Lor said. "And it helps you kind of innovate too if it doesn't stand up."
This collaboration between Cooper and Honeywell is part of a year-long partnership that shows what can be accomplished when schools and businesses work together.
Honeywell employees, meanwhile, try to pass on some valuable lessons as well.
"It's a great opportunity for the kids," said Paul Orzeske, the president of Honeywell Building Solutions. "But it's a great opportunity for our leaders to discuss leadership and really take some of the values that Honeywell has, such as math and science education, and some of the leadership training that we're doing and pass it on to the kids."
The efforts of the Honeywell employees are not lost on the Cooper students, some of whom are already looking toward the future.
"I believe they really inspire us to do more when we graduate high school because they're working," Lor said of the Honeywell employees. "They're in that working field and they're doing a lot of service and that will inspire all the students to do more."
In total, the 200 volunteers contributed more than 1,200 community service hours for their efforts at Kelley Farm.