Rio Rancho HS hosts its annual ‘Big Event’ to help the community

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RIO RANCHO, N.M. — Rio Rancho high schoolers and area students prepped with over 100 adult volunteers to help community members Saturday morning.

“This is the 14th annual Big Event, which is Rio Rancho’s largest community project, so we have over 700 volunteers going to 100 jobs sites in our community to help senior citizens and others who are in need in our community,” said Chris Salas, the activities director at Rio Rancho High School.

The Big Event is a large community service project put on by Rio Rancho High School every year. Volunteers set out to help their neighbors with yard work, cleaning, decorating and basically anything they can do to lend a hand to those who need help.

While there were around 600 high schoolers from Rio Rancho, students from other schools also came by to help.

“We’re so happy to have support from other schools [such as] Cleveland High School – our neighboring school in the district – and Del Norte High School,” Salas noted. “Even as far as Atrisco Heritage, clear on the other side of town, and this is their second year coming and helping us.”

Students get assigned to different groups, grab their supplies for the day and head out to different spots in Rio Rancho to help out.

“In the bags [we give out], there’s some Windex, gloves, trash bags, and a whole bunch of garden stuff and things like that we give them,” volunteer Jenny Saprajt Do, a Rio Rancho junior, said. “Depending on different job sites, it could be big or small, we give them different, like, tools and stuff.”

School buses also drop students off all around town where they begin their different tasks for the day.

Rio Rancho High School Student Body President Aleena Sommala has been doing this event since she was a freshman. Now, as a senior, she still reflects on the event’s importance.

“We put in a lot of time and work into this and, just seeing everyone here giving up their weekend, I don’t know, it feels good that we’re doing something to help out the community,” Sommala said.