Making schools great again

Published 9:08 pm Friday, April 21, 2017

Good schools exist because of the hard work of teachers, students and parents. Great schools thrive because they have all those things, plus the support of the community in which they are planted.

If that’s true, then John Yeates Middle School showed this week that it has what it takes to be a great school.

On Thursday, volunteers from Lowe’s and Smuckers were joined by students in the school’s recycling and Ladies of Distinction clubs to renovate the courtyard at John Yeates.

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For some of the volunteers, it was a sort of homecoming, as they had attended the school themselves at one time or another. Their work, along with the work of the other volunteers on hand for the effort, transformed the long-neglected courtyard from what Assistant Principal Wendy VanHosen called an “eyesore” into a space where current and future students and their teachers will be glad to spend instructional time.

It was all part of an Earth Week effort to help beautify the school and teach lessons about recycling and conservation.

About a dozen employees from the Lowe’s location on North Main Street teamed up with 10 employees from Smuckers to clear overgrown areas, put down fresh soil, build benches, tables and raised flower beds, make a stone path and construct a compost pit to help teach the value and simplicity of recycling.

“We are trying to show our students that there are human footprints in everything we do,” VanHosen said.

Congratulations to these two companies for recognizing the value of encouraging their employees to help improve their community. This effort was a great example of how businesses can help make their good schools great ones.