By Joseph Pratt
Students from the Scioto County Career and Technical Center (SCCTC) have been cleaning up the streets lately, as their community service class gears up with rolls of trash bags, gloves, trash collectors and the energy to do good.
The idea is to give the area and school more pride in their community, as they clean up the discarded litter and trash from the highway to the school. They spent April 9 cleaning from the highway, down Huston Hollow and to the school. They will continue the cleaning project on April 22, Earth Day, and clean the other end of Huston Hollow.
The community service class was designed to give students an elective class that isn’t focused on book work, while still giving them important lessons. Many of the students take the class, because they have no option in their schedule, while others have taken it and learned the value of community service.
Denise Coldiron teaches the class when she isn’t instructing English. She said that she took it on when the school needed additional electives and has enjoyed the time with students and teaching them pride in community work. The group has been limited on projects this semester, but she has arranged several guest speakers to make up for work. Of the guest speakers, one was Nikki Blankenship, of Southern Ohio Sustainability Alliance (SOSA). Her appearance is what made Coldiron decide to take her students to the streets and clean-up the trash.
The group has also volunteered at Sierra’s Haven Animal Shelter.
“The class is for seniors, and I try to organize community service projects for them and talk about ways to improve the community,” Coldiron said. “We do local projects and also talk about local, state, national and worldwide nonprofits.”
The group plans on volunteering at the homeless shelter, continue work with Sierra’s Haven and taking part in the SOSA art project with Boneyfiddle Arts Center (BAC).
“I hope the students take a realization from this class that they enjoy working in the community and bettering our area,” Coldiron said. “I’d like to see the students want to volunteer and make their community a better place.
Outside of having Blankenship guest speak and motivate the students to clean, Coldiron said the project is something she has wanted to do.
“I pass the trash daily on my way to work,” Coldiron explained. “Litter is a major pet peeve of mine and I can’t stand seeing it on the side of the road. It also gets us outside of the school on a beautiful day. You know, when the environment is clean, people will take more pride in their area and I want to see more of that.”
Hannah Gilley, senior, enrolled in the class out of a requirement, but has enjoyed learning more about community service.
“Cleaning up the trash is good for the environment and makes us feel better about ourselves, because we are volunteering our time to make the community a better place,” Gilley said.
Joseph Pratt can be contacted at the Portsmouth Daily Times 740-353-3101, EXT 287, or by Twitter @JosephPratt03.