Students, Staff Aid Sanibel Island on Annual Service Trip


    Media by Jason Neal

    Gabe Turner, senior, and Jonathan Neal, sophomore, removed debris from J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel Island. The group removed 600 pounds of trash and debris from two miles o the Bailey Tract.

    Following Hurricane Ian in late 2022, the communities of Sanibel Island, Florida, continue to rebuild. A group of MHS students and staff visited the island for this year’s annual spring break service trip to aid this effort.

    Leading the group and organizing the trip, Sophomore Principal Dr. Dan Ramsey said he is proud of the work the group accomplished while on Sanibel.

    “We did so much good,” Dr. Ramsey said. “People were so grateful and impressed with what 52 high school students could accomplish.”

    Dr. Ramsey said the group went to three different locations and worked with various organizations, like the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Keep Lee County Beautiful, the Harry Chapin Food Bank and United Way.

    People were so grateful and impressed with what 52 high school students could accomplish.

    — Dr. Dan Ramsey

    The group packed more than 2,300 cases of food, reorganized donation warehouses and cleaned a nature preserve.

    Dr. Ramsey said the Lee County School District coordinates with United Way to assist and provide for students in the district affected by the hurricane.

    “The social workers work with students who have lost everything,” Dr. Ramsey said. “So, when people need something, they know where to go and where they can find the things they need.”

    Kaitlyn Yu, junior, said she is thankful for the experience.

    “You could see the emotion on their faces and how much they appreciated us being there,” Yu said.

    Yu said she is proud she was able to travel with her community to help another one.

    “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and something everyone should do at least once,” Yu said.

    Even though St. Louis is our little bubble, there’s so much other stuff going on elsewhere.

    — Amy Sturges

    Following Dr. Ramsey’s retirement this year, Junior Principal Amy Sturges will take over organizing the service trip next year. Sturges has attended the trip for the past four years and took similar trips when she was in high school herself.

    “I really liked being able to see other parts of the world, and see a bigger picture of the things that go on in our nation,” Sturges said. “Even though St. Louis is our little bubble, there’s so much other stuff going on elsewhere.”

    For this reason, Sturges said she looks forward to leading the trip in the future.

    “I’m excited,” Sturges said. “Being able to give that opportunity to our students to be able to give back to a community is so rewarding.”