Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

May 2, 2013

Cleanup project a classroom affair in Paoli

Ezra Mann
Pauls Valley Democrat — School work may never completely leave the indoor setting of the classic learning institution, but it is often the lessons where learning is put to use outside those familiar halls, which leaves the most lasting impression.

This most recent Earth Day was one particular example for students at Paoli High School, where they not only were able to learn the scientific side of being a good steward of the environment, but actually had the chance to make a few improvements. Through the urging of 8-12 grade biology teacher Kent Stewart and research on ways to expand learning opportunities by HS Principal David Morris, much of the day was dedicated to cleaning up trash and other debris around the campus as well as the nearby park.

“They tried to apply that lesson to their environment,” said Morris, adding how it didn’t take Stewart long to jump on the exciting change of pace. “We were really able to get the campus and park clean.”

In effect, the whole week was dedicated to Earth Day and some of the subjects covered were how different types of trash decays differently, said Morris. He was impressed with how they all brought their own garden tools like rakes and how much garbage was collected in the end.

Some of the other things accomplished was painting around the field where there had been some vandalism and planting new flowers in a box near the main sign near the school’s entrance, said Morris. Students were also able to use it as a way to stretch their legs after many of them completed the state testing for the year.

 “That’s the one thing about these Paoli kids, they are more than willing to jump up and get the job done,” said Morris, noting how the kids have received a lot of compliments for their hard work. “I know they could have filled up two pickup beds full… It was about half a day’s amount of work.”

In the future, Morris and Stewart would like to make Earth Day even bigger with the goal of taking it beyond just a learning experience for students and involve the entire community. Stewart already has plans to get his students outdoors again in the next week or so as they will be building and launching their own model rockets as a part of their science in space lessons.