Students spend spring break in Roanoke Valley giving back

Boston University group cleaned Blue Ridge Parkway, Reynolds Cemetery

FRANKLIN COUNTY, Va. – Students from Boston University spent their spring break in the Roanoke Valley serving the community.

"It's been really amazing," said Max Crossan, a Boston University sophomore. "I was excited to come here but being here, it's just exceeded my expectations."

The students took part in an alternative spring break program through the university, that gives students an opportunity to learn a new area and give back.

"We have 30 trips go out and about 250 students participate every year," Crossan said. "They go out all around the country and to Montreal, and they just do service while staying in the communities and learning about the communities."

Seven students and a chaperone have spent their week doing different projects in Southwest Virginia. The Friends of the Blue Ridge Parkway, an organization that works to protect, promote and preserve the Blue Ridge Parkway, has partnered with the students on projects.

Thursday the students spent the morning cleaning up Reynolds Cemetery, which is nestled just off of the parkway near the Pine Spur overlook.

"If you could only get the story out of each grave, it would be immense," said Drew Daniels, a volunteer with Friends of the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Years of neglect left the cemetery with a lot of trees and plant overgrowth, but the work of volunteers, the National Park Service, and students has helped to clear the cemetery.

"The cemetery was let go for a long time," Daniels said.

Crossan said it's been rewarding spending the week giving back.

"It's been the best spring break experience I could ask for," Crossan said.

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