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Tuesday, 12 October 2010 10:34

Parents, kids and staff from Garfield Elementary volunteer to help clean every area of the school grounds last month. Garfield Principal Brandon Hyde was pleased that so many turned out to clean, proving they care for their children’s school and its appearance. He is planning another one in the spring. Courtesy photo


• Daily Leader
Commissioners and staff of the City of Liberal recently met to discuss many angles regarding cleaning up the city and how they might get citizens to take pride in their surroundings. Garfield Elementary Principal Brandon Hyde was a step ahead of the game when he organized a clean up day for the school.
Approximately 40 moms, dads and staff got together on Sept. 25 and took pride in Garfield Elementary by mowing and cleaning up the area. The idea started by a simple suggestion that the Donuts for Dads gathering go a step further.
“We did the Donuts for Dads, and I sent that home to see how many people were going to come so I knew how many donuts,” Hyde said. “We even had some moms that came with their kids. We had three or four people bring mowers – so we mowed. We bagged everything. Some people weed-eated and edged all around the sidewalks and the curbs. Some people picked up trash, things that were in corners that the wind had blown around – under trailers and decks. They crawled under there, and kids helped get paper cups and pulled weeds from underneath all of that.”
Leveling playground areas was also on the agenda for the day, Hyde said.
“One playground area is gravel and one is soft mulch,” he said. “There was a big pile of mulch over in the corner, so they broke it all up, leveled it all and filled up all the holes by the slides and where kids land – places where water would stand and things like that. The gravel, they got a lot of it that had gone through the fence over into the parking lot so they swept it up and put it over here. They leveled it out under the swings and things like that.”
The clean up day was an extension of the Donuts for Dads program that had just been discussed then finally put into practice. Hyde said it will most likely occur again in the spring. However, he said, some fathers showed interest in returning to maintain the work that was done in September.
“The Donuts for Dads I had seen at a workshop somewhere,” he said. “The cleanup, we had kind of talked about it. The maintenance mows but there are all the other areas to do. There is trash and things like that. So, I thought we would do a clean up day for a couple of hours and see who all comes and helps. I think we will get better each year. We are going to try to do it again in the spring, and I have a few dads that I think they would come up and just mow. They had asked if we would do this every couple of weeks.”
Hyde said taking pride in one’s surroundings has been discussed at length at Garfield Elementary. He believes, in time, the students will catch on.
“We have talked a lot about that with the kids this year, taking pride in their school,” he said. “All the teachers have a goal this year and some of them are to make the bathrooms look nice and clean up certain areas of the school. We are still looking at doing some painting and things like that. 
“We had an administrator inservice at the beginning of the year and they talked about how perception is reality,” he continued. “If people drive up and see trash and things like that, they are going to think your school is like that. With our school, it is such a neighborhood school, we very rarely have any problems with graffiti and things like that on the playground. If you start training the kids now and say, ‘You know, if your big brothers and sisters want to tear this up, they are tearing your stuff up. So, when you get older, this was your school and you should have some pride.’ The more we keep emphasizing it they will pick up on it. They are just not used to doing it.” 
There have also been other members of the community that have shown a deep interest in keeping schools throughout the district looking nice, Hyde said.
“We have a group of community members, Robert Burkey is leading it, they have some guys that come around every couple of weeks,” he said. “He comes and edges and mows. They have some ideas to come in to do some painting and planting trees for memorials outside. He has been great and has some people helping.”
People are usually very willing to jump in and help, Hyde said, sometimes they just need a specific invitation. 
“Most parents want to help and just aren’t sure what to do and need to be invited,” he said. “If we tell them we need help, they are good about coming up to do it.”

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