Local Schools Youth & young adult

Trash talk

Resurrection students beautify their neighborhood

by Joe Bollig

KANSAS CITY, Kan. – The plastic bags and the fast-food debris were expected, but some of the other trash gathered by Resurrection School students here at a recent cleanup raised some eyebrows.

The horse skull, for instance.

How did it get there? And, what happened to the rest of the horse?

On March 6, student volunteers from Resurrection School were given a day off from classes in order to help Community Housing of Wyandotte County clean up the Cathedral-St. Peter’s Waterway neighborhood.

Resurrection School was formed in 2007 from the merger of three schools: St. John-Holy Family, All Saints, and St. Peter Cathedral. The cleanup effort was concentrated in the vicinity of St. Peter Cathedral.

“The project came about as a result of my having been invited to Resurrection School during Catholic Schools Week,” said Susan Carroll, interim executive director of CHWC. “One of the themes [of the week] was service in the community.”

Resurrection principal Ann Connor was so impressed with CHWC’s efforts to stabilize and improve the neighborhood surrounding the school that she asked Carroll, a cathedral parishioner, what the students could do.

“Trash day” was the result.

The 20 seventh- and eighth-grade students raked, mulched and picked up trash for four hours. Materials for the project were donated by Landworks Studio, a landscape architecture firm in Olathe, and Hermes Landscaping of Kansas City, Kan.

“We had conversations about caring for the environment in their own neighborhood, and we asked them to collect the more interesting pieces of trash along the way so they could make a collage,” said Carroll.

But the horse skull wasn’t the only thing that gave the youngsters pause. Were the toys they uncovered unwanted excess? Or were they treasured gifts, now lost forever?

Carroll was proud of the way the students took to their task, working hard to spruce up their community. They took ownership, she said.

Not only did the students continue to pick up trash on the way back to school, but they also continued to clean once they arrived — which wasn’t even part of CHWC’s project.

There was no complaining, no goofing off.

“I was very, very impressed with the spirit with which [the students] entered into this project, which benefited the community and the school,” said Carroll.

About the author

Joe Bollig

Joe has been with The Leaven since 1993. He has a bachelor’s degree in communications and a master’s degree in journalism. Before entering print journalism he worked in commercial radio. He has worked for the St. Joseph (Mo.) News-Press and Sun Publications in Overland Park. During his journalistic career he has covered beats including police, fire, business, features, general assignment and religion. While at The Leaven he has been a writer, photographer and videographer. He has won or shared several Catholic Press Association awards, as well as Archbishop Edward T. O’Meara awards for mission coverage. He graduated with a certification in catechesis from a two-year distance learning program offered by the Maryvale Institute for Catechesis, Theology, Philosophy and Religious Education at Old Oscott, Great Barr, in Birmingham, England.

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