A group of Delaware Hayes High School students stayed after school Wednesday to sweep the floors and clean up the school in an effort to increase school pride.
The cleanup event was organized by junior Kiley McCann, who said she wanted be a positive force in the school, so she discussed the idea of helping clean up the school with Principal Dr. Ric Stranges.
“Over the school year, I’ve noticed our school needed a little tender love and care,” McCann said. “I came into Stranges’ office and said, ‘Let’s do something to fix it,’ instead of complaining about it. We brought up the idea of creating a community service opportunity for students.”
McCann said many students need some community service time to graduate, and opportunities for community service can be hard to come by since many places stopped providing opportunities during the pandemic.
“Instead of blaming, I wanted to act on it and see what opportunities I could create,” McCann said. “I want to focus on what we can make better, and what’s a new opportunity, instead of looking at all the losses we’re going through right now. We got in contact with our custodians and made it happen.”
McCann said a group of about a dozen students joined her for about an hour Wednesday picking up trash, sweeping, dusting, cleaning some of the walls, cleaning some tables, and cleaning up the basement.
Stranges said McCann did a good job organizing the event, and all of the routes were mapped out ahead of time. He added students didn’t use cleaning chemicals during the event.
“It’s not just an idea that she threw on my desk, she had solutions to get there,” Stranges said. “(When it’s this well thought out), it makes it easy to say yes.”
Stranges added staff at the school were thankful for the helping hand from students.
“The custodians appreciated the help and the attitude they had,” Stranges said. “The energy was contagious. Every student here had a great, positive attitude. They all wanted to do it again.”
McCann said she wants to organize another cleanup event this school year, and she hopes to make them a quarterly occurrence next year.
“I strive for positive energy 24/7 and making a change, and I wanted to bring those values to my school,” McCann said. “I wasn’t expecting this many people to sign up. It was pretty shocking, and everyone there was pretty excited about hopping on board and helping us out.”
McCann said she hopes the event got students, particularly seniors, invested in the school for the rest of the semester.
“I wanted to give an opportunity (to get involved) to them, instead of them feeling checked out since we only have (a couple months) left of school,” McCann said. “This doesn’t have to just be Delaware Hayes … this can be a Delaware County thing where people put hands on deck to help clean up our community. I feel like raising our school spirit here … is a big opportunity for us.”
Stranges praised McCann and the other students, and he added organizing and participating in the event shows leadership skills and “a lot of dedication.”
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.