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ELMWOOD – Elmwood-Murdock cheerleaders have made community service one of the cornerstones of their educational program.

They displayed their helpful attitudes this past week with their efforts at a pair of area events.

Elmwood-Murdock head cheerleading coach Casey Clements said the Knights have made it a priority to try to help others through the year. She said that has led to many rewarding experiences for both the students and those they are serving.

"Community service is definitely something we enjoy doing," Clements said. "Cheer was a big part of my life through junior high and high school, so it has been important for me to show the girls just how much of an impact you can have on people in our community as well as reaching out to volunteer for events."

The first service opportunity came during halftime of Elmwood-Murdock’s playoff football game against East Butler on Thursday night. The Halloween game began at the same time trick-or-treating activities were taking place in Elmwood. Cheerleaders decided to pass out free candy to children who may have missed some trick-or-treating in town to watch their siblings play.

Cheerleaders sat in small groups on the field and welcomed children to take candy from bags. Many younger students smiled as they received different types of treats. They also enjoyed talking with older role models on the football field.

"We haven't had a game on Halloween for a few years so it was such a great chance for us to dress up and have fun with our student section," Clements said. "The Elmwood-Murdock Booster Club provided the candy for us to distribute at halftime, and it was fun to see so many of our 'little cheerleaders' come running out to say hi and give hugs."

The Knights traveled to downtown Lincoln on Sunday morning to help with the Good Life Halfsy. E-M students volunteered to run one of the water stations on the 13.1-mile course. They set up their station near the Bob Devaney Sports Center and offered cups of water to runners who were passing by.

The half-marathon attracted participants from across the Midwest. More than 6,000 people crossed the finish line.

"Each year we volunteer at two or three races ranging from the Leprechaun Chase to the Good Life Halfsy," Clements said. "It's fun to cheer on so many people that have worked toward their goal and be able to help out by running water stations or directing traffic."

Clements said the Knights will take part in several other community events during the 2019-20 school year. The team sponsored a "Little Cheer" clinic this past September that attracted 73 participants. The group will host a second cheer clinic for children during the basketball season.

Elmwood-Murdock students will also visit the elementary school for a service project in December. The Knights will hand out Christmas pencils to every student in the school.

"The girls are so good at being role models to our younger students," Clements said.

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