SUMMITVILLE – Wednesday wasn’t a typical school day for Madison-Grant Jr.-Sr. High School seventh graders Jacob Moore and Robert Cox, both 13.
Both could be found along County Road 1550 North picking up trash along the road with about a dozen other schoolmates.
As he cleaned up, Jacob said filling the bags with trash makes him think about his own impact on the world.
“It’s fun helping the community clean up and making the world a better place,” he said.
The task was the second of the day after the pair helped the Summitville Garden Club with planting flowers. They were among about 500 students who had passed the ISTEP standardized test who spent the day engaged in a variety of beautification projects, including painting curbs and street lights, washing down police and fire vehicles and planting around public memorials in Summitville and Fairmount.
Madison-Grant is one of many schools that go beyond the standards required by state law to include a service learning component to the education of its students.
Robert said he was surprised at the amount of trash, including broken glass, at the side of the road.
“I wouldn’t say it’s fun, but it’s helpful,” he said. “Even though it’s out in the country and a lot of people don’t walk this way, it keeps the community looking nice. We’re learning to clean up and how to respect our community.”
Becky DeLong, president of the Summitville Garden Club, said the school performed a similar service project last year but on a much smaller scale.
“This year we had them help plant and mulch. We normally plant them, but we put these kids to work today,” she said. “Hopefully, it fosters a pride in the community. And, hopefully, it teaches them throwing trash in the side ditch is not cool.”
Summitville Town Council member Dee Stitt said the town has a small crew that is challenged to complete some of the tasks taken care of by the students. She said she was impressed by their cleanup work last year at the ball park.
“They did an amazing job, so we asked them to come back again this year,” she said.
The Summitville Town Council last month approved an ordinance that requires residents to keep grass clippings off the streets when mowing lawns or face fines of $50 for a first offense. Subsequent citations could double the amounts of the fines.
The Summitville Police Department will issue tickets starting June 1.
Town Council member Dee Stitt said though there haven’t been specific problems, she believes the ordinance was necessary for safety and to prevent the clippings from clogging the new drainage system as the stormwater and wastewater systems are separated.
“We have a lot of kids that ride bicycles. We have a lot of motorcycles,” she said, noting the clippings cause a slipping hazard for these types of vehicles.