Of all the activities of the Perry High School Homecoming week, none brings the students more fully into the community outside the school than the Volunteer Day outreach activities. Nearly all the PHS students participate in the once-a-year exercise in giving back.
The brainchild of retired PHS instructor Linda Kaufman, Volunteer Day puts most emphasis on tidying up the grounds around all three schools and in other public spaces around town. Along with the school yards, this year’s efforts focused on the Perry Public Library grounds, the McCreary Community Building and Wiese Park, with other groups of young people clearing brush along Frog Creek and picking up litter along the Raccoon River Valley Trail and Iowa Highway 141. Forest Park Museum and several Perry churches were also spruced up.
Two volunteer efforts attracted particularly large teams of students: the Perry Tree Farm and the downtown window-painting project.
Nearly 100 PHS volunteers took part in the Perry Tree Farm fencing and mulching, with a few besides pulling weeds and building a sign for visitors. Perry Parks and Recreation Director John Anderson and Matt Marcalus and Elizabeth Arentz of Des Moines Habitat for Humanity helped direct the action, with the fencing intended to stop the nibbling deer who damage the saplings.
The Perry Tree Farm nurses replacements for the numerous ash trees scheduled for removal from Perry city grounds as a result of the emerald ash borer’s infestation.
Through the efforts of 10 PHS cheerleaders plus another dozen student volunteers, half a dozen city of Perry buildings and more than 50 businesses in the downtown area and along First Avenue had their windows painted in Homecoming colors. Four PHS faculty and staff members — Kris Finn, Linda Huntington, Martha Stetzel and Roxanne Whitmore — helped to supervise the painting, which covered nearly 100 windows around town.
Buildings taking a coating for the home team for Homecoming 2016 included: Perry City Hall, Perry Public Safety Building, Hotel Pattee, Raccoon River Bicycle Company, Towncraft Building, Perry Public Library, Carnegie Library Museum, Spellman Law Firm, Pegasus TV 12, Crooked Rail, Oasis Market, Fareway, the old Woolworth’s and Conklin Jewlers windows on Willis Avenue, El Rey Market, Showtime Studios, Panateria y Tienda Mexico, the old Walt’s Sporting Goods, Firehouse Ice Cream, the Citizens State Bank Building and Dillenbeck Building, Mandarin Cafe, Betsy Peterson Designs, WashAll Laudromat, WillDo Cleaners, Raccoon Valley Bank, Freedom for Youth Center, Remax Pros, Caso de Oro, Perry Paint and Design, Perry Perk, Horak Law Firm, Downtown Barber Stylists, Ben’s Five and Dime, the Perry-Area Chamber of Commerce seedbed building, the Dorman Building, the United Food and Commercial Workers Union Hall, Aspen Financial, Perry Grand Theater, Gatehouse Media, Sisters Beauty Salon, Meriwether, Eye Care Associates, H and R Block, Caseys East, Pizza Hut, Ketelson Collision Center, It’s Hair, Styles Unlimited, Subway, U.S. Cellular, Exhaust Pros, Lou’s Diner, Clean Works Dog Wash and Medicap Pharmacy.