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Heavy rains fail to stop school clean-up

Clean-Up Day may have been a wash out this weekend, but that didn’t stop students at Byrd Elementary School from doing their part to improve the look of their neighborhood.

Before the heavy rains fell on the evening of May 2, all the students in kindergarten through fifth grade did yard work on school grounds before taking a walk to pick up trash in the surrounding area.

The event was known as Environment Day, with teachers and administrators helping children get into the act of cleaning up the outdoors.

By the time lunch rolled around, everyone was almost finished sweeping, raking, digging and pulling weeds around the school.

The day was supposed to teach the children about respecting the environment and what it takes to keep it looking good.

“We were going to do this next week, but we decided to

have it in conjunction with the Clean-Up Day,” said Byrd Elementary principal Beth Taylor of the now postponed city-wide clean-up.

Most of the students didn’t seem to mind they work, but Principal Taylor did get a few complaints.

“It’s so hot,” exclaimed 10-year-old Makiea Bleekman. “They have me cleaning up and raking leaves.”

Fifth graders Edward Johnson and Torrence Wright, however, said they didn’t seem to mind digging holes for new plants.

“I like doing this,” Johnson said. “I like doing the work.”

Principal Taylor said having the children work outdoors was also a good way for them to stay busy while using up excess energy.

“I guess some people would say this is free labor, but they really are learning about the environment,” Taylor said.

After lunch, the students went indoors to cool off and relax for awhile before making the trek around the neighborhood to pick up trash.

Despite a few moans and groans from students as they were told about the clean-up walk, most did not seem to mind spending the day outdoors instead of in a classroom.

Several garbage bags full of leaves, weeds and trash covered the curb behind the school by the end of the day.

The students were hot, tired and ready to go home, but their hard work paid off in the school yard.

Principal Taylor said she plans to have more outings for the students as the school year winds down.

In the upcoming weeks, the students will be taking a field trip to Bloch Park to learn more about nature and the environment while taking advantage of the warm weather.