The Big Event is a project Rio Rancho High School has organized for the past 12 years. In doing so, they have cleaned hundreds of Rio Rancho residents’ yards.

The Observer loves that the students, faculty and staff at RRHS continue to make it happen and put a significant amount of effort into giving back to the community.

It is no easy task for young students to give up a Saturday — yet every year, Rio Rancho students come together in high spirits to do just that.

This year more than 600 students participated. That number is about a quarter of the student body, despite the fact that a cheer-leading competition, a state semifinal football game and other activities were happening the same day.

That turnout is impressive in any case. Considering the inaugural Big Event only drew 50 volunteers, that’s also impressive growth.

Those 600-some-odd students and about 100 chaperons cleaned around 100 yards in a single day. That’s a lot of donated man hours — and the massive effort to organize The Big Event in advance took hours more.

It seems the stereotype of young people being self-absorbed and lazy doesn’t adequately describe all teenagers, at least not in Rio Rancho. We hope adults will look at teens a little differently in light of The Big Event and get to know any young people they encounter before making negative assumptions.

The adults who participated in the advance organization and day-of physical work are to be commended as well. They, too, gave up their Saturday to help other community members and to provide support and leadership in encouraging students to continue growing into adults who make the world a better place.

Those adults are making a difference, too.

Another benefit to The Big Event is that it seems to be more than giving back to the community; this event is about a connection between one another. Providers and recipients of services tell stories of the people they met, how much they enjoyed each other and what they learned from the interactions.

Often, owners of the homes students volunteer at would provide cookies and hot cocoa for their work.

Around this time of year when greed can spoil the goodness of the season, it is refreshing to see Rio Rancho won’t fall victim to that trend.

This day revitalizes our community and reminds us of our roots. Rio Rancho is first and foremost about helping one another.

The Observer recognizes our students are a big part of keeping spirits up, and reminding us that things are never as bad as they might seem.

The Big Event helps make Rio Rancho an even better place, and that’s a win for everyone here.

Only time will tell how much potential this program carries; we are excited to see what the future holds.

The Observer hopes to see this tradition continue to grow and help our community. We send a special thanks to those who have volunteered over the years and welcome future volunteers.