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Fortuna High School students work to ‘Change the World’

FORTUNA- When Fortuna High School seniors were told they would change the world this year, they knew it wouldn’t be easy.

Instead of completing the schools’ required 15 hours of community service, all 170 seniors were asked to create a project that would make a difference

“The whole project is just amazing. It's insane what a bunch of high school students can do in a short amount of time,” said senior John Gearhart.

The projects ranged from filming a YouTube documentary about the Change the World Projects to creating a school garden.

“My project was to start a school garden and to help reduce CO2 emissions and provide organic food grown by us for us and to teach kids how to garden,” said senior Sierra Hill. The garden now grows lettuce, strawberries, pumpkins, tomatoes, and many other vegetables. Once ripened, the produce goes to the school’s cafeteria for student lunches. Over the summer, Hill says they will sell the produce at the local farmers market.

Other student projects included a healthy eating poster initiative as well as a de-lighting campaign to reduce energy use at the school.

“The amount of stuff that kids have done from helping kids learn, teaching them chess, nutrition, sports, anything like that wiping out a bunch of beach grass…its crazy,” said Gearhart.

The students began their projects in February and have accumulated more than 1,000 hours in service. The seniors were able to show off their work at a community showcase on Monday.

“There were a lot of people from around the community who are not even involved in the school that just wanted to come see how we were helping the community. So it was nice to see everyone come in and it was fun,” said senior Justin Claus

School officials say the program will continue next year and hope to make the change the world projects a school tradition.