Parents, volunteers, preen and clean Parkrose schools

Find out why some folks gave of their time, and labor, to make Parkrose School District facilities just a little nicer for returning kids …

In front of Sacramento Elementary School, parent and volunteer Sue Lampe trims bushes and works on the flower beds. “I’m helping because want kids to come back to a school that looks good,” Lampe says.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Throughout the Parkrose School District, students, staff, families and community members pitched in to clean up their neighborhood schools – under the “Project Community Care” banner – on Saturday, August 28.

Volunteers brought their own tools, gloves, and enthusiasm as they preened the exteriors of schoolhouses, helping to fill in the gap left because Parkrose, like all Oregon school districts, is dealing with reduced funding.

The organizer of the effort, Erica Martin, who is also the treasurer for Parkrose Middle School’s Parent Teacher Organization (PTO), was at work with her crew at Prescott Elementary School.

“We swept the blacktop area, and cleaned around the exterior of the building,” Martin said. “Each of our Parkrose schools has a great PTO group, and involved parents; this clean-up day gave parents and supporters the opportunity to help out. Projects like these bring people to the school, so they may participate in a positive way.”

Martin said that she knew that this – being their first year participating in the City-wide clean-up day – would result in participation “not in huge numbers. But, there were volunteers working at every school. And, what was done was a real gift to the schools.”

Stephanie Viegas, co-president of Sacramento Elementary School’s PTO, scrapes and washes classroom windows on School Clean-up Day.

At Sacramento Elementary School, volunteers came by to weed the Community Garden, trim back some bushes, and wash classroom windows.

“Having the school look nice is important,” said the school’s PTO co-president, Stephanie Viegas, “because when students return to school, they can see that we want this to be a good place to learn.”

Viegas said she hopes parents will volunteer for other events this year: “Anything the parents can do volunteer is really important.”

Sprucing up Parkrose High School are Diane Pow, Allison Newman-Woods, and Nolan Pow.

At the high school, we found another group sweeping and weeding at the main entrance. “I’m here because I respect my community,” said Allison Newman-Woods. “This work we’ve done here today lets other people know that we care about our surroundings and about each other. When the school looks better, it gives the kids a lot more pride in their environment, in their school, and in their education.”

Newman-Woods reminded parents that they are invited to help during the school year, with Parkrose High groups like Bronco Booster Athletics and Bronco Booster Music – or the Senior All-Night Party.

Martin agreed with Newman-Woods, adding, “There will be more opportunities during the year to help out. So get involved; check with your PTO, and discover all the ways you can help your school.”

© 2010 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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