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Morning Sun
  • Schools, city take on trash

  • Students from all over Pittsburg left their classrooms Wednesday morning and took some time to enjoy the outdoors on a beautiful day.



    They may not have fully realized it, but they spent their morning learning and giving back to the community at the same time.

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  • Students from all over Pittsburg left their classrooms Wednesday morning and took some time to enjoy the outdoors on a beautiful day.

    They may not have fully realized it, but they spent their morning learning and giving back to the community at the same time.

    The event was a new one for the Pittsburg community.

    This is something that  (USD 250 Superintendent) Destry Brown has organized in other communities where he has worked," said Pittsburg Parks and Recreation Director Kim Vogel.

    She said her department is involved with Pittsburg Beautiful, but this took things a step further.

    "They had talked to us about doing a litter campaign with the Pittsburg Beautiful group," Brown said, adding that the idea of making it a bigger event really caught on.

    "We've been planning it since October," he said. "We've just been putting things together."

    "I worked to organize the city staff while Destry organized the USD 250 staff," Vogel said, adding that nearly every full-time city staff member was on hand for the event.

    "Really, everybody was out doing their job," Vogel said.

    Brown said he created routes for each of the schools, including USD 250, St. Mary's Colgan, Covenant Harvest, Countryside Christian and the Family Resource Center.

    Pittsburg High School and Pittsburg Community Middle School students were assigned outlying areas, and others were given territories close to their facilities.

    "I just got on Google Maps and started blocking out sections," Brown said. "The elementary schools and St. Mary's Colgan, I just gave them an area."

    Each area was saturated with students and supervisors.

    "Every student, teacher, para, everybody," said seventh-grade technology teacher Greg Lopez, who walked with his students along Watco Trail as they picked up trash. "We're scattered through the whole City of Pittsburg."

    Lopez said his group members picked up five full bags of trash in their territory, which ranged from Fourth and Catalpa to Ninth and Georgia.

    Page 2 of 3 - Lopez and other teachers also supervised the students throughout.

    "They also learned about what to pick up versus what not to pick up," Vogel said. "If teachers saw an item they didn't want the students to pick up, they called the board office."

    She said from there the location was noted and the items were disposed of properly.

    The process provided the students a different sort of education.

    "I think it's taught them a lot about doing their part not to litter," Vogel said.

    PCMS students Byron VonWinklepleck and Alex Gray took on the heavy lifting of unloading trucks and trailers into the trash receptacle, and had fun with the job.

    "I got asked," VonWinklepleck said. "I kind of wanted to do this job."

    Gray said taking care of the planet is important to him.

    "The only reason we did it is because we like to clean up the Earth," he said.

    Both said the task of filling the large bin was enjoyable.

    Brown noted the huge pile of trash from the overall effort and said he hopes the students see that a little adds up.

    "I hope they're learning about how much just a little bit of litter accumulates," Brown said.

    He said students also learned how much the community appreciates a job well-done.

    "We had  a lot of people stop and thank the kids and say nice things," Brown said.

    "They've had stories to tell," he continued.

    Brown said he could envision this being a yearly project and said the routes already are outlined if it is repeated next year.

    Vogel said she would be excited to do so and added that she hopes there is less litter each year going forward.

    Page 3 of 3 - The overall cost of the event was negligible, Vogel said.

    "Aside from staff time, this project hasn't cost us anything," she said.

    Vogel said many area businesses helped donate supplies such as gloves, bags, the trash receptacle, water and more, including Via Christi, Fastenal, Vilela Trucking, Pitt Plastics and Community Health.

    "It's turned out fantastic," she said.

    Another cleanup effort will take place this weekend along the bypass through Pittsburg Beautiful, and volunteers are asked to meet at 20th Street and the Bypass at 9:30 a.m. Saturday for the cleanup event at 10 a.m. that day.
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