RPS beautification projects helps students feel welcome, excited

RPS beautification projects helps students feel welcome, excited
Volunteers help to improve conditions at schools in Richmond. (Source: Richmond Public Schools)
Volunteers help to improve conditions at schools in Richmond. (Source: Richmond Public Schools)
Workers clean up debris around a school. (Source: Richmond Public Schools)
Workers clean up debris around a school. (Source: Richmond Public Schools)

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Nearly 1,000 students, teachers and parents are pitching in all week long for Richmond Public School's Beautification week.

Those volunteers are doing lawn work, washing tables, upgrading sinks in bathrooms and helping teachers get their classrooms ready for the new year.

Staff says the clean-up effort sends a clear message to students.

"Students feel welcomed," said Southampton Assistant Principal Ekaterina Travis. "They'll be excited about their learning environment."

Elicia Winning is not only a teacher at Southampton elementary, but her daughter also goes to a Richmond public school.

Winning knows what a little extra elbow grease can do to boost a student's spirit.

"It shows students that people care about them," Winning said.

Isabella Ragazzi, who is almost done with college at Northeastern, remembers her RPS roots and is volunteering, too.

She says giving back to the school district is one thing, but a clean work space makes all the difference in a successful school year.

The beautification project has become a community-wide effort.

Even local companies like Yard Works are pitching in on their own time.

"(We) show a little pride in the buildings and hopefully students will show pride in schools as well," Yard Works president Jim Bolinger said.

"It speaks to the learning environment," Travis said. "Every little detail from the mulch to the tables, floors and computer lab - students will be excited because they'll say students and teachers want us here."

After all, there's something about a clean space that does wonders for the psyche.

If you'd like to help out, here are the remaining schools and days:

  • Green Elementary – Aug. 23, 9 a.m. to noon
  • John Marshall and RCEEA – Aug. 23, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Maymont Preschool – Aug. 24, 9 a.m. to noon
  • MLK Middle School – Aug. 24, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
  • George Mason Elementary – Aug. 24, 9 a.m. to noon
  • Thomas Jefferson High School – Aug. 25, 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

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