By Aila Boyd

As part of the Day of Service that James River High School holds every year, 291 students gave back to the community on Monday by donating their time and energy.

This marks the third year in a row that the school has held the Day of Service. With roughly 540 students currently enrolled at the school, more than half of the entire student body participated in service activities.

The students spent three hours working at seven different sites throughout the county. The sites included the Town of Fincastle, Eagle Rock Elementary School, Buchanan Elementary School, the Town of Buchanan, the Daleville Town Center, Muse Road, and a stream cleanup at James River High School.

The sites that the students volunteered at were selected based on need and interest.

In total, 874 volunteer hours were given to the community. The estimated value of the work that was done is $22,200.

Students were given the option of participating in the Day of Service or staying at the school.

This program has been very successful for James River. The school plans on making this an annual tradition to help students learn the value of being active in their community,” Brandon Linthicum, a social studies at the school and the organizer of the Day of Service, said.

Linthicum added that although a considerable amount of planning goes into the day, it is a “very rewarding experience” for the students to have.

The idea to have an annual service day, Linthicum explained, arose out of Principal Jamie Talbott’s desire to shift the focus away from standardized testing and onto giving back to the community for one day out of the year.

The day was organized with the help of the school’s FFA.