Students Can Earn Community Credits to Graduate

With 10 hours of community service required for students to graduate high school, SPLASH (Stop Polluting Littering And Save our Harbors) has a community based program designed to achieve that student goal.

Gary Smith, president of the Merrick-Bellmore-Wantagh chapter of SPLASH, told this magazine that several weekly trips of 2-to-2 ½ hours into the East and Middle Bays of Bellmore and Merrick to clean debris off the water quickly amount to 10 hours of service needed to graduate. SPLASH is a grassroots community volunteer organization whose charter is to clean the bodies of water in the South Shore Estuary (including the bays, channels and canals) of floating debris that could be dangerous to boaters and other water recreational vehicles.

A Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District spokeswoman remarked that “Students need 10 hours of community service to graduate, to show that they have given back to the community.” She said many students join clubs to give that community service, while others may do it through Politics in Government, for example. But all need it to show they have achieved some community service.

She added that 10 hours of community service are also required for honors classes, and students in middle schools require 20 hours to receive an outstanding community achievement award from the district.

Smith said that while its 28-foot Carolina skiff built expressly to 8 ½ feet wide for SPLASH goes out almost daily, “we would like volunteers and community minded students for Sunday excursions at 10 a.m. and Monday excursions at 5 p.m.”

He said the community program to clean up the bays is an excellent way to work off community hours for students not only studying politics in government, but for those taking classes in environmental sciences, earth sciences, biology and marine biology, chemistry and other disciplines related to the “web of life.”

The SPLASH boat goes out from the Wantagh Park Marina. Call Smith at 785-4234 for information on providing community service to graduate high school.


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