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ERIE - A pair of Mason High School seniors have been busy building an online home for their community while they're building their college resumes.
For more than a month, Dewey Russeau and Nick Owens, both 17, have been busy hammering away on a special project: a Web site for Erie Township.
Township supervisor Paul Mikels approached the school district about two months ago seeking help with launching a township Web site after the township board rejected an offer from Michigan State University that could have ultimately cost thousands of dollars.
Mr. Mikels said that, so far, he's been very pleased with what the two seniors have put together.
"These young people know so much more about the Web and the possibilities than I do, that they've come up with some exciting [elements] as well," Mr. Mikels said.
"We're trying to find as many ways as possible to tie the entire township to- gether in a little tighter way."
The students' prototype contains about what you'd expect on a township Web site: its logo, a photo of township hall, pictures of elected officials, and hyperlinks to various community organizations and businesses.
"We could be more creative with it, but we didn't want too much information on there that would need constant updating," young Mr. Owens said.
"It's been challenging and time consuming. Right now, we're just waiting for the township to get back with us with some information that we need," young Mr. Owens said.
Their biggest problem so far, young Mr. Russeau explained, was recruiting fellow students to help with their community service project.
"We've asked a few other people to chip in, but a lot of them are still thinking about it," young Mr. Russeau said.
"What I'm kind of hoping is that it will be an educational site for the township, that we'll have some place like a bulletin board where we can post the agendas for the boards; where we can do some education on upcoming projects going on," Mr. Mikels said. "I'm also hoping that it will be a place where some of the local businesses can find a place to have a presence on the Web. A lot of people don't know much about Erie, but having a place where people can tie into the area and the local businesses can be beneficial."
Both college-bound and computer-savvy seniors said they plan to continue studying the machines and their operation once they leave high school. As to whether their free project will lead them to start building a paying clientele for Web design, only time may tell.
Mason Superintendent Marlene Mills said the project, when completed, should help prospective residents choose Erie Township because it will provide all the information they need right at their fingertips.
"The school board has made community service a mandatory part of our curriculum, and this is a grand opportunity for our students to have a real live learning opportunity that will help them later in life from this experience," Mrs. Mills said. "It's the kind of thing that is good for the township and good for us."