Fall Campus Beautification Day


Sumayah Baloch

 Fall campus beautification day occured Saturday, Nov. 9. Students, parents and teachers worked together to clean up the many outdoor spaces at Athens Drive.  

On that day many different clubs and PTSA members came together and cleaned up the courtyards at Athens. Over 60 people were there and several of them from the many clubs at Athens. For example, NAHS, NHS, Key Club, Environmental Science Club and LEO Club were all there to help.

Before the fall cleanup, the courtyard was full of weeds, poison ivy and litter everywhere. It was overgrown. There were dead trees with falling limbs, weeds coming out of the concrete and thick underbrush. Afterwards the weeds were cut and pulled, the leaves were raked and dangerous tree limbs were removed.

Cleaning up the outdoor spaces at Athens Drive involved lots of physical labor. Volunteers had to rake all the leaves, bag them and then take them to the woods to dump them there. There were separate groups for different jobs as there were many things to accomplish. They also planted flowers around the jaguar statue.

“The students and members of PTSA cleaned up three outdoor spaces on campus. These spaces were the enclosed courtyard off the library, the entrance to the library where the Jaguar statue is, and the Native Plant Habitat near the carpentry building and behind Ms. Hilton’s classroom. The volunteers raked leaves, laid down mulch, trimmed branches, removed small trees, got rid of weeds and underbrush and did general yard work,” said Laura Bernstein, art teacher.

To organize an event like this required many different groups and people to come together to make it happen. The PTSA Garden and Grounds committee was formed again with PTSA president Lysa Fullbright, 15 to 20 parents, Jason Hunning and Bernstein. They anticipate on having two more cleanup days before Christmas break and three more days in spring. In previous years there was only one workday each spring.

“Mr. Hunning and I have been monitoring and evaluating the spaces for a few years. NHS began the Memorial Garden about a decade ago. The carpentry classes have made benches and planters. There is usually a Spring Garden Day but with the help of the PTSA Garden and Grounds Committee, we held a meeting and decided that 2 Fall cleanup days were also needed,” said Bernstein.

Having a clean outdoor space is something teachers and students at Athens have identified as important to them. Teachers want to utilize the outdoor space for teaching. Students use it for recreation and learning. Having a clean space makes it safer for students that are in the area.

“Not only does it improve the overall look of our outdoor spaces, it provides necessary clean up so that these spaces become Outdoor Learning Areas. That way, all types of classes can be held outside if the teacher chooses,” said Bernstein.

The fall beautification day changed the condition of the outdoor spaces a great deal. What was once an overgrown mess has been cleaned out. The PTSA Garden and Grounds committee was formed again and will continue to take care of the courtyards. NAHS is even planning on painting a mural there next year. Keeping the outdoor spaces clean will require ongoing efforts and vigilance. Students, teachers and parents worked together to improve Athens Drive and will continue to in the future.