Monday was a teacher-only day at Mount Aspiring College.
While that might have meant a three-day weekend for some, a large number of pupils headed out into the community to do good deeds.
Te Kakano Nursery hosted 12 pupils aged between 12 and 15, who learned about native plants and how to gather and sow seeds with employee Kris Vollebregt.
Ms Vollebregt also showed the pupils many of the native plants the nursery had planted beside Lake Wanaka over many years.
Kiana Babbington (14) and Cate Wyndham (13) said they were enjoying volunteering while their teachers were in the classroom doing school work.
“It helps the native species,” Kiana said.
“It is good to learn about the plants that are at your home,” Cate said.
Volunteer South-Central Lakes spokeswoman Gillian White said it was the first time the college had participated in community volunteering during a teacher-only day.
Dunstan High School was also taking part for the third time, she said.
“The idea came about from Keri Barnett, who teaches at Dunstan High School, as she was keen to enable students to connect with and support their community through volunteering and it is proving to be popular with students keen to do something productive with their day off,” Mrs White said.
Volunteer South Lakes supported the schools’ initiatives by ensuring the roles were safe and appropriate for pupils.
The organisation also helped identify roles and put processes in place to connect pupils to jobs.
Mrs White said the day was about about giving the pupils a positive experience and realising the impact they were having within their communities.
“Students get to try something new, meet new people, share or learn new skills, gain valuable experience, build up their knowledge of the community, have something positive to show on their CV and enjoy their day off school by contributing to their community,” Mrs White said.