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In My Own Words: Theodore Strelecky '24

By Theodore Strelecky '24

In 1970, the Pingry community commemorated its first Rufus Gunther Day, which would become an annual tradition for the school and is now known as Community and Civic Engagement Day. Celebrated on the last Friday of October, the day allows students to spend time away from their daily classes and instead participate in community service and other forms of civic engagement.

In past years, I have visited places such as the Community Food Bank in Hillside and assisted employees with packaging pasta or separating foods in boxes. This year, my advisory, along with four others, traveled to the Great Swamp Watershed Association in Morristown. This organization strives to sustain healthy water quality on the Passaic River. Our task was to lay wood chips on a popular watershed trail in a preservation effort. The trail was a long, windy, decaying trail that had lost clarity due to overgrown plant life.

The overall experience was fun and gratifying. While the task was laborious, it was rather exciting, whether we were running up and down the trail with a wheelbarrow full of wood chips or shoveling heaps of mulch. We finished our time at the watershed having completed our expected task, while also paving the way for other schools and people to assist the organization following us. Though Rufus Gunther Day is specifically a Pingry tradition, I encourage everyone in the world to partake in their own day that is dedicated to community service and civic engagement.

Contact: Andrea Dawson, Senior Writer,