On the morning of April 26, Greenwood Elementary School students could be found outside, enjoying the beautiful spring weather. But they weren’t jumping on the playground or running through the soccer field; they were weeding, planting and picking up trash.
Close to 300 students took part in Greenwood’s first Green Day, a school-wide cleanup of the grounds. From weeding the flowerbeds surrounding the front door to raking leaves near the playground and picking up trash, every grade had a different job and every student participated.
Only kindergarteners were not able to participate, as they were on a field trip.
“We feel like we are helping the environment and doing something,” said Julianna Glick, a sixth grader and historian for the Greenwood Elementary Student Council. This event was organized by the Student Council with the help of their advisor, sixth grade teacher Cheryl Stacy.
Stacy said students in sixth grade had been learning about the environment and decided this was an event they wanted to organize. She added that she had heard many students complaining about the look of the school, saying the school grounds were not the best.
“We wanted to do an activity every quarter and we wanted to do something to make our school beautiful,” said Glick.
“This is also the hangout on the weekend [for local kids],” said Stacy, who believes the project benefits the entire community, not just the school.
With the help of their teacher, Glick and her fellow student council members created a list of the different materials they would need and sent the letter home. Parents donated all of the necessary supplies such as mulch, gloves, shovels, plants and water.
Stacy also appreciated some extra help from the Woodbine brothers. Stacy said Andy Woodbine is a student in her class whose older brothers, Nick and Kelsey, have a landscaping business after school. The two are students at Bishop Hendricken High School but, due to a teacher’s development day, had that day off. They dedicated their time, and some mulch, to help spruce up their former elementary school. Along with their other younger brother Jacob, the four Woodbine brothers lent their skills to the project, helping to plant six shrubs and complete other tasks.
During the greening of Greenwood, members of the Student Council served as organizers, making sure each grade was completing their task and had all of the supplies they needed. Parents, grandparents and guardians served as volunteers, and all of the teachers worked with their classes as well.
Tasks included planting, weeding, laying down mulch, cleaning trash and planting new shrubs in front of the building. Each grade was responsible for a different area of the school. For example, third graders were weeding along the side of the building, while fourth graders were responsible for cleaning up the courtyard in the center of the building.
Stacy explained that younger students were given tasks they could handle, such as cleaning up trash and leaves around the playground.
“We have sixth graders mentoring them,” added Stacy.
While Stacy was the teacher in charge, helping to keep everything in order, the students on Student Council could be considered her second-in-commands.
“There are four student coordinators working in tandem to make sure everyone is all set,” said Stacy, as one of the coordinators passed by talking into his walkie-talkie.
Other Student Council members were manning the healthy snack table. The Greenwood PTA donated fresh cut fruit for the hard-working students to enjoy. Glick and her fellow council members made sure the snack table was piled high with apples, oranges, bananas, grapes, carrots, pineapples and strawberries, pulling more fruit from coolers as students grabbed their snack.
While Glick will have moved on to junior high next year, she believes Greenwood Green Day could continue for years to come.
“If you don’t help the environment, bugs and other animals will die, plus everything looks better when it is clean,” said Glick.
In just an hour and a half, Stacy could see a difference in the landscape of the building. She was so impressed with what the students were able to accomplish.
Greenwood Elementary concluded their day of going green, which occurred four days after Earth Day, with the planting of a tree in honor of first grade teacher Denise Walker, who passed away from breast cancer earlier in the school year.