Phoenix school gets reborn

Published 10:42 pm Thursday, March 18, 2010

The school is labeled alternative, but the upkeep of the building is anything but.

“I can’t stand to see the kids going to school with it looking like this,” said Sherry Mitchell, Peace Warrior and community member. “I see better. I’m not fixing a building, I’m fixing a school.”

While classes at the Phoenix School are dismissed for spring break, members of the community are repainting, landscaping and cleaning the interior and exterior of the school.

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“We decided we needed to give the school a face lift,” said Detric Brown, Peace Warrior coordinator. “If you just passed by here, you would think it’s a condemned building.”

Beginning the project Wednesday, Brown and other volunteers will work until at least Saturday.

Brown and other community members promised students the school would be renovated by Monday. They still have a long way to go.

Donations from local organizations and community members have moved the process along.

Senator Hank Sanders donated 56 gallons of paint and about 10 paintbrushes, the National Voting Rights Museum donated about 10 paintbrushes and two ladders, Rose Sanders donated five trays of flowers and the law office of Chestnut, Sanders, Sanders, Pettaway and Campbell donated several pairs of gloves and boxes of garbage bags.

Although donations of tools and supplies to replace broken or rotting items of the building are welcome, the most needed item is volunteers.

“Whatever your skill set is, come out,” Brown said. “Any time they can come, whether 10 or 15 minutes, will help.”

By the time students return for classes, Brown wants to have the hedges trimmed, flowers planted, weeds pulled, paint on the interior and exterior walls, outer bricks and the sidewalk pressure washed, facial boards on the roof replaced and landscaping groomed.

“This is a school that is still thriving in the community,” said Eric Banks, Peace Warrior coordinator.

He and other volunteers are examples of a younger generation of Selmians uplifting the community, Banks said.

“There are some young adults who still care about this city,” Banks said.

To volunteer, visit the school any time between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. Friday or Saturday.

The Phoenix School is an alternative program of the Selma City Schools for students suspended or temporarily removed from one of the schools in the system.

The mission of the Peace Warriors, a government funded non-profit organization started in April 2009, is to help children, better the community and promote peace.