LAWTON, Okla. (TNN) - Schools and many businesses were closed Monday in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Junior. But instead of taking a day off, many students chose to volunteer in the community.
Hundreds of students from Cameron University and Lawton Public Schools participated in the annual Dr. Martin Luther King Junior Day of Service. The idea behind it is simple - instead of staying home, get out and make your community a better place.
"We're out here in the community doing service and giving back,” said Cameron University freshman Richard Routon.
"We’re here cleaning up the school with Clorox wipes because it’s flu season,” said MacArthur High School junior Callie Dennis.
"We’re wiping down tables, wiping down doors, pencils, anything that a kid might touch that might get them sick,” said Lawton High School senior Michael Tolbert.
The annual MLK Day of Service has been a tradition in Lawton for several years.
"We have a great group of students from across the community who come, we have Cameron students and local students from the high schools, we have some girl scouts here, and they really do a fabulous job of serving. They really want to serve, they want to do what they can, they really love to give back to the community,” said Cameron University Director of Campus Life Leslie Cothren.
This year, between 60 and 80 students were stationed at each of Washington Elementary, Edison Elementary and Lawton High School doing anything and everything the staff needed done.
"We are so grateful because there are so many things we want to do but we don’t have time. We are taking care of babies and meeting their physical needs and educational needs. So, when groups from the community come it, it helps us to build a partnership with them so they can have a part in what we’re doing here,” said Washington Elementary School principal Ella Snavely.
Teachers and staff at the schools said simple things like a fresh coat of paint on the walls or clean desks will help students appreciate and invest more in their education.