By LeAnn R. Ralph
ELK MOUND — Social Studies classes at Elk Mound Middle School are planning community projects that will take place May 31 and June 1.
Two of the team leaders — eighth graders Carter Sundeen and Gus Scharlau — sat down with the Colfax Messenger to talk about their projects.
Carter’s group will be working on the Elk Mound Lions Club Park, and Gus’s group will be working on Mound Hill Park.
“We are doing community service. (As a class) we decided what areas of the community where we would do the projects,” Carter said.
Four classes at Elk Mound Middle School will be working on the community projects. In addition to the Lions Club Park and Mound Hill Park, one class will be working on staining garages, and another class will be working on picking up trash around the community.
The projects are part of a “Be the Source” initiative, Carter and Gus said.
Carter’s group will be working on sandpapering and painting the picnic tables at the Lions Club park as well as putting up new swings and completing general cleaning tasks.
“We want to make everything nice for baseball season,” he said.
At Mound Hill, Gus’s group also will be working on the picnic tables as well as cleaning up graffiti at the Mound Hill “castle” and with the possibility of adding a fire pit to the park. The group also will be doing some trail cleanup and may plant some flowers.
“My brothers and I have been playing baseball a long time. We go to the Lions Club Park a lot,” Carter said.
“When Mr. Schmidt said we’d be helping the community, I said, ‘why don’t we do the Lions Park?’” he said.
“We had a bunch of ideas on the list. The entire class voted. We decided to do the Lions Park and Mound Hill,” Gus said.
“I like Gus’s idea because (Mound Hill) is a landmark. A lot of people visit. By redoing it, it’s making the landmark more enjoyable,” Carter said.
“It really does help you can see the castle on Mound Hill from everywhere. And I really do like Carter’s idea, because (Lions Club Park) is a childhood area. I played T-ball there and baseball there. I had a lot of fun there. I have a lot of memories there,” Gus said.
The castle at Mound Hill Park was built in 1937 by Dunn County with the aid of the Works Progress Administration (WPA). In 1934, rural letter carriers in Dunn County had planted a tree at the top of the hill and placed a plaque dedicated to the “deceased rural letter carriers of Dunn County.”
The castle is about 25 feet in height and was constructed with stones from the Downsville quarry and a dismantled livery stable in the village.
Dunn County eventually turned Mound Hill Park over to the Village of Elk Mound.
Mound Hill Park “has a flag, and you can see the flag there for miles,” Gus said.
The Elk Mound Lions Club Park is the site of numerous baseball games during the summer and also is a popular spot for picnics and family reunions.
The classes have been doing fund raisers to raise money for their projects.
One of Carter’s ideas for a fund raiser was root beer floats.
“Everybody likes root beer floats,” he said.
Carter and Gus also have been contacting businesses.
The businesses “have been really supportive, like Kyle’s Market. We’ve called some of the banks, too. And the other classes have been contacting businesses,” Carter said, adding that he wants all of the businesses to know the classes at Elk Mound Middle School have been extremely appreciative of the support they have received.
The students also acknowledged Chris Hahn, principal at Elk Mound Middle School, for his support as well as their teachers Coty Schmidt and Michael Kessler (seventh and eighth grade Social Studies), Nicole Resch (seventh and eighth grade English Language Arts) and Chris Hanson (sixth grade).
Another fund raising idea was to receive a pass for the Seven Habits class.
“Our main idea is to get out of ‘Seven Habits.’ (The class teaches students) about breaking habits we have like talking when we’re not supposed to be talking and listening correctly with eye contact. Our trademark was to get out of Seven Habits free,” Gus said.
Carter pulled a Seven Habits pass out of his pocket. The passes were designed to look like Monopoly “get out of jail free” cards.
“Every other Friday, and this was the last Seven Habits we would have had. But since we came up with the idea, it did help us raise quite a lot of money,” Gus said.
Other fund raisers have included “hat passes” and “gum passes” in which students can buy a pass to wear a hat or chew gum during school.
The students have created lists of supplies and tools they will need for their projects.
“For our group, paint will be the big thing. It is so expensive, and we need so much of it,” Carter said.
The paint will be about $500, and they have ordered a swing set for Lions Club Park for approximately $200, he said.
Other supplies they will need include brooms, buckets, soap, rakes and painter’s tape. For Mound Hill Park they will need rakes, saws, rocks/stones, mulch, shovels, wireless drills, screws, wood, a weed whipper, shears, hoes, liner for the mulch, sandpaper, poison ivy scrub (because there is poison ivy on Mound Hill), sunscreen, hats, gloves and wheelbarrows.
Carter and Gus said their classes could still use some funds to help complete their projects.
The students plan to be at Mound Hill Park and the Lions Club Park all day both days on May 31 and June 1.
The classes did send letters home to parents about the projects, and because of the school district requirement for background checks for volunteers, the volunteers will be made up of parents, said their teacher, Coty Schmidt.
Anyone who would like to help out with donations of money or supplies can contact Schmidt by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Donations also can be mailed to the middle school in care of Coty Schmidt or Mike Kessler: Elk Mound Middle School; 302 University Street; Elk Mound, WI 54739
For more information, you can call the middle school at 715-879-5595.