When Jason Haskell injured his ankle this fall, it meant a halt to his plans to prepare his farm for winter. A pile of logs stood next to his driveway, in no condition to be used in the woodstove to heat the house. The greenhouse frame sat unfinished. Brush and small bushes were encroaching on paths that needed to be kept clear. There was no way that his wife, working alone, could complete all that needed done before the snows came.
Learning of this need, Doug Show organized a service project to help the Haskells prepare their farm for winter. On Sunday, September 20, the Wisconsin Academy freshmen, sophomores, and juniors arrived ready to help. With some quick organizing, the girls were armed with clippers and sent to clear away brush. Students Mr. Show’s Industrial Arts class started putting up the frame for the greenhouse. The rest attacked the woodpile.
With Dean Cho and Mr. Rasmussen on chainsaws and Mr. Taitano on the splitter, the logs, one by one, became firewood. Some students carried or carted wood to the log splitter. Others hauled the split wood to the basement. Still others were trained to stack wood. When the splitter could no longer keep up demand, Mr. Cantrell instructed students in the fine art of splitting wood by hand. For many, this was a new experience, and a line of eager young men and a few young women formed, each eager to feel the satisfying crack of wood splitting under the axe. Within a few hours, a few friends and neighbors arrived with two additional splitters to help speed the process.
By 1:00 or so, a picnic lunch was ready. With paper plates full of hot dogs, carrot sticks, chips, and watermelon, we enjoyed a break as we ate. Even during lunch, though, the work continued, as the splitters were kept busy with fresh wood and a small crew kept stacking the split wood on the growing pile in the basement. Lunch finished, those who ate replaced those who had continued working, allowing them a break also.
Although we weren’t quite finished with the log pile, it was soon time to go. We had hours of driving ahead of us and school the next morning. Fortunately, the friends and neighbors who had brought the splitters were willing to help make sure the job was finished to completion. After a group picture with our new friends, we reluctantly climbed aboard the bus and headed home.
Wisconsin Academy is committed to training students to be “Fit to Serve.” Giving students practical service experiences like this is just one of the ways we are working to accomplish that goal.