Students taking town in clean sweep

It’s about that time of year again when Fort High students blitz the town for garbage, with their annual spring cleanup slated to start May 5.
Co-ordinator Walter Horban said students and volunteers will take almost anything to the town’s landfill site. Exceptions will be shingles, and anything that is either too big to fit in the back of a half-ton truck or too heavy for the students to lift.
“[And] we don’t want tires, primarily because there is a fee charged to dispose of [them],” Horban noted.
People are asked to put out the items the night before. While items are picked up free-of-charge, people are welcome to make a donation.
“If they’ve got a full truckload, I’d like them to call the high school at 274-7747 or my house, 274-6822,” Horban said, noting that would help when it came to planning the routes.
He also urged people to phone earlier rather than on the day of the cleanup so the pickups could be marked on maps.
While the main day is May 5, Horban said about three “mop-up” days will be needed in order to collect all the garbage.
Started in 1971, the town cleanup has grown to about 300 students taking an estimated 800 loads of refuse to the landfill each year.
Fort High principal Terry Ellwood said activities like this are something the Ministry of Education and Training was focusing on. Starting next September, students will be required to do 40 hours of community service in order to graduate.
This cleanup, Ellwood noted, would fall into that category. And by helping out, he said students also were increasing their awareness of the environment.
“Certainly it gives you an awareness of the environmental impact of garbage,” he remarked Monday. “It’s a message that they can carry out throughout their whole life.”
And many schools take part in similar activities for “Pitch In” week.
“This is the most extensive kind of project that I’ve ever been involved in,” Ellwood said.
But this year, the school is going to be more strict about who can participate–the students must have passing grades in all classes, be caught up on assignments, and have a good attendance record.
“There is a very, very definite route that kids have to follow to be excused from class,” Ellwood stressed, adding they also would be responsible for catching up on classes missed.
Meanwhile, the town also is getting on the cleanup bandwagon. Council gave the nod to a $2,500 contribution–up $500 from last year–which will help subsidize the gas for the loads going to the landfill site.
And Horban is always looking for volunteers with half-ton trucks. Anyone interested can contact him.