MONTEVIDEO - Sandbag tossing is not yet a sanctioned high school sport, but Montevideo is ready if it ever is.
Students at the Montevideo High School got lots of practice in it while exceeding expectations and filling over 20,000 sandbags to help with the city’s flood fight.
“The city asked us for 15,000,” said Montevideo Senior High School Principal Scott Hickey. “From what I understand we created more than 20,000. Exceeded our quota.”
The City of Montevideo and its Fire Department asked the school on Monday if students could help fill sandbags. By Monday evening, roughly 90 students in spring sports began filling bags at a station set up on school grounds. On Tuesday, well over 75 percent of the students in the junior and senior classes took part in the sandbagging operation during the school day.
“They enjoyed it,” said the principal. “The kids worked hard the whole time.”
Students were allowed to volunteer provided they had their school work caught up and had permission from their teachers. Some teachers brought their entire classes.
Most hours of the day saw anywhere from 40 to 50 students on the work line, filling bags and stacking them on pallets.
The bags will be used to top the city’s 1969 levee and placed in strategic, low-lying areas.
Hickey said the school sold the idea of helping out as a civic duty. He said the school has been discussing the idea of adding service to community and volunteerism to the curriculum.
The principal said it was interesting to watch the dynamics as groups of students came up with their own strategics to share the duties of filling, moving and stacking the bags. This is grunt work, and plenty of farm kids knew it. “Some farm kids just kept slinging,” said the principal. “They didn’t care. They just kept going.’’
The school’s baseball team finished up the project Tuesday evening. They insisted on filling every last pallet before calling it quits.
The students’ efforts brought words of thanks from Mayor Jim Curtiss and other city officials. The principal said the school is looking for a way to thank them as well. He already warned the students he couldn’t afford to buy them all pizza, since so many helped. “We’re trying to think of something that won’t break the bank,’’ he said.