Dr. Ralph H. Poteet High School has always been a school committed to excellence in education. In 1995, the school extended its commitment to excellence to include community service with the implementation of Poteet Attempting To Help (P.A.T.H.). In the past three years, Poteet High has made tremendous strides in this area and possesses one of the strongest community service learning programs in the area.
For example, in 1995, the school sponsored a canned food drive. While some schools simply “have a canned food drive,” Poteet High School decided to do more. They set a goal to completely fill a school bus with canned food. They achieved their goal and completely filled the bus from floor to ceiling, from driver’s seat to rear door, with 21,740 pounds of canned food. Various clubs and organizations of Poteet High performed 21 other community service projects that year. In 1996, the school surpassed their previous record by filling an 18-wheel trailer with 27,740 pounds of canned food. Students performed 26 additional community service projects that year.
In 1999, the students of Poteet High School completed 34 community service projects. They opened last school year with a new project – Supplies of Success (S.O.S.). This project provided 400 students with a new package of school supplies for their first day of school. In September and October, they donated time to the Mesquite Historical Society and involved all students in the school in Red Ribbon Week. In October, the Art Club painted murals in the rooms of Special Education classrooms in the district. In November, the students participated in Special Olympics Volleyball, National Read a Book Week, and painted scenery for the upcoming “Christmas in the Park.”
In November, the annual Canned Food Drive was expanded to include clothing. Poteet students also participated in projects with both Adolphus Children’s Center and Children’s Medical Center of Dallas. They organized and made visits to Willow Ben Nursing Home and Emmitt Evans Senior Citizens Center. They purchased a Christmas tree and decorated it for an area nursing home. In January, the senior English classes began a new project. Students were assigned to write children’s books to donate to Scottish Rite Hospital. From this project came Rupert’s New Friend, a book that is now used to teach Community Service to elementary students in the district.
Many Poteet High School students stayed active in community service all year long. Poteet H.S. Peer Helpers visited their elementary feeder schools each week, offering tutoring and mediation. Another group of students called Kids for Christ visited a South Dallas Project every Tuesday to play and offer support for the children living there.
Community Service is an important part of the “total school experience” at Poteet High School. Through P.A.T.H., Poteet High School is making a difference in the community and the lives of the students as well.