Brockway Students Find Ways To Help Community

BROCKWAY, Pa. (EYT) – The land management class at Brockway Area Junior-Senior High School will be giving back to the community.

(PHOTO: left to right – Rocco Ford, Kyle Uplinger, Dakota Reasinger, Charles Patterson, Nathan McClelland, Jacob Schaeffer, and Makyndra Coder.)

The land management class covers working in the school’s barn, high tunnel, and greenhouse. They also cover environmental issues and community concerns.

Teacher Matt Holt hoped to get his students out into the community with this project.

“These students, many of them don’t get a chance to make connections in the community,” Holt said. “The students will be able to make connections with people who will be good connections to have in the future.”

Holt had the students come up with projects that, for the most part, involved the student managing other people. He then had them budget for their project and promote it. Soon, they will actually do the project. With that in mind, the students came up with some diverse ideas.

For Makyndra Coder, the project gave her a chance to get involved with animals.

“I’m getting the community to donate to the Gateway Humane Society,” Coder said. “These animals need help – there’s a lot of costs that go into taking care of the animals.”

Coder does spend some time at Gateway Humane Society, and she hopes that getting donations will lead to more.

“When I go in, it makes me really sad to see the animals there,” she said. “Some have been there for a while. They need extra food, water, and toys to keep them happy. I also hope that this project gets people into the humane society to adopt a pet.”

Other classmates are working on projects that help the community and run the gamut from beautification of properties to helping the environment.

Charles Patterson is painting the picnic tables at Taylor Memorial Park. While he knows the park is undergoing some renovations, the picnic tables will still need to be updated while the work is underway.

“They need a touch-up,” Patterson said. “When they look better, the park itself looks better. When you take a big, community area like that and it looks shabby or trashy, people coming into the area think that’s what the people of the community are like. If you keep it clean, then it shows that the community cares.”

Dakota Reasinger is also helping out at the park, as well. He will be cleaning up trash around the pavilions to help the park look nice for the summer.

“People come here from out of town,” Reasinger said. “A park should look nice, like the one in DuBois, so we need to clean it up. Sometimes kids from out of town trash it, but if you’re hanging out in the pavilions, you shouldn’t make a mess because the pavilions will get shut down.”

Jacob Schaeffer is also doing a clean-up, especially around Westville Road.

“I was driving and saw a lot of trash around the road,” Schaeffer said. “I’ll do a trash pickup. We have to protect the environment and not throw trash out in the woods.”

Kyle Uplinger will spend some of his spring planting flowers at Highland View Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center.

“Some people are living out their final days there,” Uplinger said. “They might as well look out at the garden and see something beautiful. I know people up there, and the garden needs flowers for them to look at.”

Joe Trunzo is taking an environmental approach to his project. He will plant trees by the Clarion River.

“Around here, we need more trees in certain places,” Trunzo said. “We’re lumbering there around the Clarion River. I’ll be planting dogwood and willows. We don’t have as many of those around here.”

Nate McClelland is going to assist the environment, as well, building bat houses. These houses look like birdhouses, but the bottoms are open so the bats can crawl up inside.

“Some people think bats are a nuisance, but they eat a lot of insects and keep that population down,” McClelland said. “We need bats.”

Anyone interested in helping out or donating to these projects can contact Holt at the school or talk to the students involved.

“I want them to have good connections,” Holt said. “And, they’re out there making a contribution to their community.”

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