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Students volunteer to improve local baseball field

Updated: Nov 11, 2023

By Mahika Khosla Nov. 9, 2023


In school, each student volunteers for a set number of hours to fulfill their graduation requirements. While traditional activities include helping out at fundraisers, tutoring organizations and school events, students have gotten more creative and passionate about their volunteering efforts. Junior Austin Le, for one, went a step further and revived the baseball field at Challenger School.


There, Le built two bullpens, where pitchers and catchers warm up, for Almaden Little League teams as part of his Eagle Scout project in Boys Scouts. The current bullpens at the Little League field possessed several safety concerns; they were not at regulation measurements, eroded, flat and the catcher’s box had sunk into the ground.


Jane Hong Art

Baseball has been a significant part of Le’s life ever since he was six. Today, Le plays club baseball during the fall and for the school during the spring. Aside from baseball, Le has been working towards the prestigious final rank in Boy Scouts, the Eagle Rank, since the end of fifth grade. The Eagle Rank is achieved by completing the previous ranks, earning at least 21 merit badges, fulfilling leadership roles, demonstrating outdoor skills and completing a service project for the community—the final of which motivated Le to combine his passions for baseball and Boy Scouts.


Le began to plan his volunteering project in August 2022. He made drawings and diagrams of the two bullpens, met with officials from the Almaden Little League, then researched and bought the necessary materials. The project required concrete-retaining wall bricks, clay blocks, baseball dirt and other tools like metal rods and compressors. To grow his team of volunteers, Le sent emails to every member in his troop. The project began on June 10 with 50 volunteers and ended on June 11 after roughly 15 hours of hard work each day.


A volunteer on Le’s team, Junior Levin Gong, spent 12 hours handling the rock breaking and clay stamping parts of the project. He and his group had to first dig up old rubber plates before taking measurements to determine the location of the new bases and replacing the old dirt with red clay. In order to fit the clay bricks together, Le and Gong poured water on them to remove the dirt and sand, and prevent mortar, a workable paste, from hardening too quickly. When pouring water, they also stamped the clay bricks down with large metal pressing tools. Lastly, they shoveled red clay on top of the clay bricks to polish the look of the new field.


“It was difficult to get very precise measurements, so there was a lot of adjusting, which meant extra digging and clay stamping. The process of pressing down the clay bricks was the hardest. The dirt in the area was very dry and rocky, and we had to slam metal rods into the dirt to break it up,” Gong said.

Le hopes that the baseball project will benefit the community as pitchers and catchers using the bullpen will have a quality baseball field. He hopes to inspire other volunteers to improve areas of their community that are lacking in certain aspects. In addition to Le and Gong, Sophomore Raahil Sengupta also participated in the project by constructing the pitching mounds and creating the home plate area.


“My goal was to make the new mounds more player-friendly and safe. I hope the new bullpen will help more people fall in love with baseball like my friends and I have,” Sengupta said.

Jane Hong Art

Besides Le, Gong and Sengupta, many students at the school have worked to positively impact the community. One example is Junior Ariana Tavakoli, who helped build tables, chairs, desks and signs for drama. She also built tables, desks and chairs for a new YMCA community center. Tavakoli believes that volunteering can help one improve their teamwork skills and learn the importance of helping out in the community.


Volunteering benefits both students and the community greatly; students learn skills like responsibility, punctuality, accountability and leadership. Le explains that volunteering teaches students what it means to put in hard work for a good cause and shows them that their actions can have a real-life impact. He argues that the community deserves the help that student volunteering provides.

 

About the Contributors


Mahika Khosla

staff writer


Mahika Khosla is a sophomore at Leland High School and is a writer for The Charger Account. During her free time, she enjoys reading novels, watching movies with popcorn, and creating board games.


Jane Hong

artist


Jane Hong is a sophomore at Leland High School and is an artist for The Charger Account. During her free time, she enjoys listening to K-pop music, dancing, sleeping and doodling.

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