The Suburbanite
  • Teens show Perry pride during cleanup

  • Trading textbooks for shovels and rakes, student volunteers gave Perry Township residents help with spring cleaning Saturday during the fourth annual Project Perry Pride.

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  • Student volunteers traded their textbooks for rakes and shovels Saturday to help township residents with spring cleaning during the fourth annual Project Perry Pride.
    Workers in neon orange shirts fanned across the township to dig weeds, trim shrubs, spread mulch, rake leaves and pick trash from the roadside.
    “These are students that are genuinely stepping up and doing the right thing,” said Sherri Barth, Drug Free/Safe School coordinator for Perry Local, who helps organize the event.
    Even with athletic events and an ACT test session scheduled Saturday, there were 250 Perry Local students and 30 adult supervisors on hand to do 35 different projects.
    The event coincided with the township’s Spring Clean Up Day and the approaching 43rd Anniversary of Earth Day. In addition to the school district, Project Perry Pride gets support from the township, Rapid Response Restoration and local businesses. MaryAnn Donuts and Pizza Oven both donated food.
    Senior Megan Brophy was volunteering for the third time.
    “I think it’s a great way to give back to the community,” she said, enjoying pizza at Pfeiffer School with friends after a morning of yard work.
    Her classmates agreed.
    “Plus, the Perry community gives so much to us and our schools, we need to give back to them,” said senior Samantha McWilliams, a two-time volunteer.
    Seniors Kyle Venosdle and Gerald Gray were helping for the first time, and both said they would like to participate in the project next year as adult volunteers.
    “It’s a nice way to help ... out,” Venosdle said.
    “With a small pizza and donut incentive,” Gray joked.
    Residents, many of them senior citizens, fill out applications to have the work done. Sometimes they give you candy, the students said. Other times, they make small talk.
    “They were both very nice ladies,” Venosdle said of the two residents he and Gray assisted.
    That sense of community and giving to others is what Project Perry Pride hopes to teach.
    “A lot of the kids are pretty humbled by that and they realize it’s not about them,” Barth said. “It’s about stepping up.”

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