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CVCA students lend a hand to clean up Smyrna Park
• Private high school reaches out in community service
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Central Valley Christian Academy students Naomi Espinoza (left) and Melissa Mondragon clean leaves in Smyrna Park Thursday morning. - photo by Jeff Benziger

High school students from Central Valley Christian Academy braved the cold Thursday morning spent to spend three hours helping the city clean up Smyrna Park of leaves and assembling sand bags for future localized flooding.

Brian Snarr, a teacher at the private school formerly known as Modesto Adventist Academy in Ceres, said the school involves their students with community service projects.

Students were given the task of raking leaves, particularly in and around the horseshoe pit, as well as leveling out the ground. They also filled approximately 800 sandbags to stand by for use if street flooding occurs this winter.

“We try to schedule once a quarter some sort of community service event,” said Snarr. “Sometimes it’s hard to find the right event and we are really fortunate this year to join with Ceres and they can provide us with something that’s actually in the community and benefits the community in general.”

In the past students have helped certain individuals with home improvement needs but working in the park has a “more community feel.”

“We’re just saying Ceres, we’re here to service. I’m glad that we can do something like that.”

A bigger goal is to help the city install exercise stations throughout the park.

“I’m gonna try to have my CAD class design some things. That’s kind of a big goal but we’d like to do that.”

Senior Parks Worker Rob Herrington said having sandbags available helps the city be ready. He said while Ceres has great storm drainage, some residents get fearful and request sandbags to keep water out of yards and homes.

“We’re just trying to stay ahead of the game,” said Herrington in preparing the bags.

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Central Valley Christian Academy student Winnie Wang rakes leaves at the Smyrna Park horseshoe pits. - photo by Jeff Benziger