Last weekend, over 30 members of the O’Dowd Varsity Rugby program, both student-athletes and coaches, joined San Leandro Councilman Bryan Azvedo for a community clean-up day.
The team gathered bright and early, at 8:30 in the morning, at East 14th and Bancroft Avenue, where they were issued gloves, safety vests, and trash bags (and perhaps enjoyed a donut or two!). Then they partnered with dozens of community volunteers, walking northbound up East 14th and Bancroft Avenue, picking up litter, removing junk, and collecting trash and debris for removal by the City of San Leandro.
“This was a great way to serve our community, and have an opportunity for our students to finally be together after a year apart with the pandemic,” said Coach Ray Lehner, who is also a social studies teacher, and has been at O’Dowd for almost 20 years. “This is an exceptional group of kids,” he declared. “They are selfless. They always put the team’s needs above their own. We are very proud of them.” The team was featured in the San Leandro Times for their efforts.
“Participating in this project opened up my perspective about littering and the effect it has on our streets,” said Catherine Otuhiva ’22. “Filling my trash bag to the top gave me a sense of achievement and it was a positive way to start my Saturday morning. Rugby is the best sport ever! The O’Dowd Varsity Rugby Program was founded in 2010 and has completed a team community service project annually since. Past projects have included: serving meals at a warming shelter, cleaning and renovating fields, and setting up retreats for Kairos prison outreach. Both the Men and Women’s teams compete in the Northern California High School Rugby Competition.