Students spruce up school

Teenage volunteers get up early and help beautify campus of Muir Elementary.

May 13, 2010|By Max Zimbert

Thirteen-year-old Chad Anderson had no problem waking up early Saturday morning for some community service.

The seventh-grader at La Cañada High School 7/8 was one of about 200 volunteers who beautified Muir Elementary School in Glendale last week.

“It’s nice to do service,” Chad said. “It makes you happy.”

It also made the school look brand new. Decaying fences were repainted and arid soil was replaced with fresh plants, flowers and much — donated by the volunteers from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, school parents and community members.


The gardens are meant to celebrate teachers, Muir Principal Linda Junge said.

“Morale is low this time of year anyway, and they’ll get a huge boost from this,” she said. “It’s very moving to me, and it’s going to mean a lot to my staff.”

Many teachers see the finish line to another strenuous year, which ends next month, Junge said.

“We’ve been struggling with so many issues, and teacher layoffs,” she said. “With declining enrollment and budget cuts, getting painting and planting done on this scale wouldn’t be possible.”

Teachers arrived to work Monday to discover the gardens, along with a plaque with their names on it, and the names of those who tilled the soil and planted the greenery.

“When we put out the call, people are willing to help,” said Jay Morgan, president of the La Crescenta Stake, 11 Mormon congregations in the area. “What is religion if you don’t better the community you live in?”

All volunteers wore yellow construction “Helping Hands” vests. About 100,000 Mormons were expected to donate time, money and community service Saturday throughout California and Hawaii, church leaders said.

“High-powered lawyers, doctors, there’s a mix of people from all walks of life,” Morgan said. “There’s no issues of status.”

Glendale residents Rebecca Holden and Jon Sommer’s names are going to be on at least one plaque, as they dug out arid soil by the school’s bungalows.

“They wanted mulch along the top,” Holden said as she tossed a chunk of asphalt from the soil.

For Sommer, it was his first time at Muir since he graduated sixth grade there.

“These bungalows were not here when I was here,” he said.

Sommer was the only student who couldn’t speak English when we was in elementary school, he said. In 2008-09, 66% percent of Muir students were bilingual, according to the California Department of Education.

Sommer rattled off the names of all of his teachers.

“I spoke Norwegian,” he said. “It is very surreal to be back.”

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