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Hayden high school students assist at funerals

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) -- A Topeka high school has started a group that encourages its students to serve as pallbearers at funerals where they're needed.The St. Joseph of Arimathea Society was started in fall 2011 at Hayden High School after Deacon Dan Ondracek, of Most Pure Heart of Mary Catholic Church, read an article about a similar group at an all-boys high school in Cleveland.

The Topeka Capital-Journal reports (http://bit.ly/Uiy4Fm) that Ondracek approached a longtime Topeka funeral director who told him that when a person dies and doesn't have pallbearers, the Knights of Columbus or American Legion sends people out. But some men in those organizations are getting too old to lift a casket.

Most of the members of the group at Hayden are seniors, but juniors and sophomores also participate.