Students find bag of treasure while cleaning Lake Merritt

The Oakland, Calif. school has been doing this community service project for years but has never found gold

Doing community service doesn't usually yield more than a sense of pride and a better neighbourhood but that wasn't the case for a group of grade six students in California.

For the past 15 years, a group of students from St. Paul's Elementary school in Oakland have been going to a local lake once a week to help clean up trash.

They usually just find junk, but last week they noticed something that was out of the ordinary.

They found two 7-kilogram canvas sacks full of silver and gold rings, bracelets, watches, candle holders and commemorative coins.

"We usually just think there is gonna be water or sludge in the bag," said Simone, one of the students, in an ABC News article. "We were definitely not expecting anything like that."

Dr. Richard Bailey of the Lake Merritt Institute, a group that organizes the cleanups, put on his hip boots to help the students get the bags out of the shallow water.

One student said she had heard of a student finding a ring in the grass on a clean up day, but no one has heard of anything like this. "It's kind of amazing," she said in an ABC News video.

The students were giddy as they sifted through the bags, but they didn't get to see it for long as they turned it all over to police. The police are going to see if the recovered items match records of stolen goods and if unclaimed after 90 days the school will get the treasure back, according to KCTV.

Although the school's communications manager told ABC, "Our school mission is service; we were very excited that we were able to serve the Oakland police as well as the community. It's a great lesson for our kids; they're hoping the goods get returned."

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