New Castle News

April 25, 2013

New Castle students weather storm to clean up community

David Burcham
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — On a gray, rainy day, more than 270 New Castle High School students took to the streets.

They took to the parks and the playgrounds, too, getting their hands wet and dirty yesterday during the annual city cleanup. Members of the Clean Team from Service Learning Program refused to yield to the inclement weather, instead making places look brighter despite the absence of sunshine.

There were nine teams at work thoughout the city under the supervision of Fran Joseph, consumer science teacher and Service Learning coordinator, and Kathy Daytner, who assists with the program.  

Gary Schooley’s Honors English Class accounted for most of the 25 students at the Gunton Park location.

Thunder and rain greeted the students upon their 8 a.m. arrival, but by 10:45 the group had raked a gazillion leaves in addition to removing garbage and fallen tree branches from the playground and areas surrounding the Albert P. Gettings baseball field.

Sophomore Chris Fornataro, a cousin of the fallen Marine for whom the field is named, was among the group. “That’s why I wanted to come here and work today,” he said. “That just makes it more personal to me.”

There were childhood memories for sophomores Joe Totin and Jordan DeMarco, who played youth baseball on the field.

“This was my second home for the summer,” said junior Gabrielle Houston, who grew up a few blocks away from the site.

Students were treated to lunch at 1 p.m. at Gaston Park before being dismissed for the day. It was the end of the week, as school is not in session today or Friday due to spring break.

Houston said many students plan to return to the some of the same spots tomorrow to paint and finish cleaning as part of the Global Youth Service Day. “They had planned to paint benches and tables, but the weather didn’t permit it,” said Joseph.

The whole thing started about 10 years ago, according to Joseph. After reading a story about polution, students wanted to take a more active in a service learning project to clean up areas in the city. The project has grown every year since.