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How we started a school cleanup for Earth Day
November 8, 2023

By Navah, East Norton Bulldog Bulletin | Seeing trash around the school every day as I ride the bus into East Norriton Middle School is frustrating. It makes it seem like no one cares about the outside of the school. This daily vision led another student, Tucker, and me to the idea of a school cleanup.

After speaking to our teacher, Mrs. Strickland, about our idea, Tucker and I got started. Surveying the area around the front of the school was our first step. Along the paths near the road, trash was everywhere. It was shocking how many different types and sizes of trash we saw. Processing all that we had seen, Tucker, Mrs. Strickland, and I, sat down and discussed how we could make this project work.

Our first discussion was about who could help with the cleanup. We decided that students would be our best option, especially if we were doing the cleanup during the school day. It was difficult to think of which students should help out. We believed that if an entire grade got involved, it could have ended up in a disaster. With that in mind, we decided that only a few students in the seventh grade would be selected. We then decided we should create criteria for partici- pation.

They should have received positive school credits, be responsible, work well with others, and have shown GRIT (GRIT stands for Guts, Resilience, Intensity, and Tenacity) during the school year. If they met these criteria, they would also have to want to help in the cleanup.

Teachers would nominate students: Three students per homeroom, totaling 27 students. Tucker, Mrs. Strickland, and I also would participate.

What cleanup is possible without materials? But we didn’t have any. So we spoke to one of our school custodians, Mr. Fran. He was in favor of the cleanup. He agreed to donate trash bags and gloves. This was really exciting and we were super happy to put our plan into full action.

We wanted to reward these students for two hours of hard work with a treat. We felt it would be an amazing motivator and a fun way to end our day together. Mrs. Strickland reached out to Via Venetos, an Italian water ice and pizza place, which gave us a discount on water ice that we used as a reward.

On the day of our cleanup project, everyone was excited. We headed outside, and then groups were formed between friends. Groups were given one trash bag, and everyone got their own pair of gloves.

I went with my group and collected a lot of trash: tires, cans, bottles, and wrappers of many different items. It was a lot of fun to hang out with friends while cleaning up our environment at the same time. After around an hour and 45 minutes, all the groups met and had collected about seven bags of trash.

I believe the day went amazingly. Each student was positive and responsible. I found the entire ex- perience inspiring. I am proud of all my fellow classmates and students who helped clean our school. Next school year, I hope that we can do more.

Illustration by Chinwe, eighth grade, Catholic Partnership Schools.

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