Eastern Kentucky PRIDE

Personal Responsibility in a Desirable Environment

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PRIDE honors Our Lady of the Mountains School

Our Lady of the Mountains School faculty and students accepted the PRIDE Volunteer of the Month Award from PRIDE Field Representative Mark Davis and Johnson County PRIDE Coordinator Lillian Wheeler.

Our Lady of the Mountains School faculty and students accepted the PRIDE Volunteer of the Month Award from PRIDE Field Representative Mark Davis and Johnson County PRIDE Coordinator Lillian Wheeler (far left).

The PRIDE Volunteer of the Month Award was presented to Our Lady of the Mountains Elementary School, which is operated in the historic Mayo Mansion in downtown Paintsville by the Diocese of Lexington.

“We want to thank Our Lady of the Mountains for its years of volunteer service to the community,” said PRIDE’s Mark Davis, who gave a plaque to the school on February 28. “We can count on the entire school to volunteer to pick up litter every spring. The teachers make lessons of the PRIDE cleanups, building community service and environmental stewardship into the curriculum.”

“This group always chooses the last Friday in April for a PRIDE cleanup because they tie the education component in with Earth Day,” explained Lillian Wheeler, Programs and Projects Coordinator and PRIDE Coordinator for the Johnson County Fiscal Court. She nominated the school for the PRIDE award.

“Students are taught the importance of stewardship and protecting the environment,” Wheeler said. “They focus on respect for themselves, others and our environment. I am highly impressed by the amount of litter picked up, the discipline of the children, and the consideration and care they give each other.”

Every April, the school’s students and staff pick up litter on school grounds and in the surrounding area, including two nearby cemeteries. Most recently, in April 2013, approximately 60 students and their families and seven school staff members volunteered.

The school serves preschool through eighth grade. During a cleanup, students are divided into groups led by the older students, with a teacher overseeing two or more groups. Safe locations are targeted, and preschool students remain in the fenced areas.

Wheeler estimates that the school spends six hours on each cleanup. That includes lessons before the cleanup and evaluations afterward, to make the event a learning experience. After the cleanup, the students enjoy a special lunch together.

The students’ favorite spot to clean is the Old Town Cemetery, Wheeler said. It seems to be abandoned, so the children enjoy seeing the site transformed when they clean it.

“The roadsides are cleaned and at the end of the day, the children are happy, tired, dirty and proud of a job well done.”

The PRIDE Volunteer of the Month program recognizes hard work and dedication to the PRIDE initiative, which promotes environmental education and cleanup efforts across 42 counties. With corporate sponsorship from TECO Coal, WYMT-TV airs commercials about each PRIDE Volunteer of the Month.

Congressman Hal Rogers co-founded PRIDE in 1997 with the late General James E. Bickford, who was the Kentucky Secretary of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection.

Follow PRIDE online at www.facebook.com/EasternKentuckyPRIDE.

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