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Iowa school offers gym credits to students willing to help elderly, disabled residents with manual labor


Photo by Nick Wood/Getty Images

Students at the Alternative Learning Center in Dubuque, Iowa, can earn school credits for gym if they do yard work for the elderly and disabled in their communities.

What are the details?

According to a report from KWWL-TV, part of the school's curriculum involves being able to choose physical activities for the last two weeks of school. Select activities — such as mowing the lawn — will count as credits for their physical education requirements.

Tim Hitzler, one teacher at the school, says that he and the students will be available for tasks such as lawn care and general home maintenance.

"The students and I and other students come out and help [the elderly and disabled]," Hitzler told the station. "Could be raking leaves, pulling weeds, cutting grass, cleaning gutters; just depends on what they need."

Hitzler said he believes that the students are doing more than just helping those in the community who need it, and earning credits doing so.

"The students aren't typically too excited at the beginning, but once they get involved and start doing the yard work, they become more motivated," he said. "What they really like is ... helping people. They really like giving back to people and meeting the person."

Hitzler told KCRG-TV that the students are able to feel good about themselves in addition to helping others.

"It's a rewarding feeling, you know we get to give back to the community but the kids feel a sense of accomplishment, too," he said. "People are very appreciative. Sometimes they cook us a meal. We had cheeseburgers the other day, ham sandwiches one day, today it was brats. So it's a win-win for everybody."

According to WTHR-TV, the Alternative Learning Center is "a school for high school juniors and seniors who are at risk of dropping out of school," which also offers courses outside "traditional" high school settings.

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