GREEN  Every year, local school districts need to clean and prepare their bus fleets for state inspectors.

For the past two years, Green Local Schools has gotten its buses ready with an interesting approach that has benefited the district and its students alike.

Previously, the district’s bus drivers were paid a stipend to clean their buses, but last year a plan was hatched to have Green High ROTC students do the work and in turn, the drivers could donate their stipend for this work as a fundraiser for the students.

"The drivers could waive their stipend, which was equal to two hours pay if they so desired," said Glenna Romine, the district’s head of transportation. "It worked out pretty good last year, and this year 13 drivers waived this stipend to help the students. The students learned a lot doing it the first year. The kids really do a pretty good job, and afterward the drivers double check everything to be sure the buses are nice and clean."

Capt. David Welhouse, head of the ROTC program, helped supervise the work and noted last year the program raised nearly $800 through the fundraiser. This year, 15 students gave up part of their first Saturday following the end of the school year to clean the buses.

The group worked for seven hours and finished ahead of schedule, with an assist from several members of the transportation staff who grilled bratwursts, hamburgers and hot dogs for the students.

The day raised money for the ROTC program, but it also served as a good learning experience for those who took part. 

"This was a great learning experience to learn about hard work," said Megan McGonigal, a graduating senior who was in the ROTC for four years and just enlisted in the Air Force. “It is not the most fun thing to do, but the experience is valued by the cadets who took part in it."

Senior Jacob Chapman, one of the leaders for the program entering his final year of high school, liked being able to give back to the community, but also provide funds for the program’s upcoming schedule. At the end of the day, everyone was able to walk away with a smile, perhaps a bit tired, but having helped multiple causes in the process.