In a show of dedication to environmental conservation, students at William B. Wade Elementary School embraced their green thumbs last month, participating in a week-long series of beautification activities and projects. From April 17 to 28, the school grounds were abuzz with students and staff working diligently to transform their surroundings.

Wade Elementary School, renowned for its commitment to environmental initiatives, holds the distinction of being named a Maryland Green School by the Maryland Association for Environmental and Outdoor Education (MAEOE). Building upon this reputation, the school organized the Wade Beautification Days, an event that encouraged students and staff from prekindergarten to fifth grade to roll up their sleeves and engage in various tasks aimed at sprucing up the campus.

Throughout the week, the participants enthusiastically pulled and dug up weeds, picked up trash, raked leaves, planted flowers, and created garden beds. The collective effort demonstrated the school’s passion for fostering a clean and sustainable environment.

The festivities culminated in a vibrant pep rally featuring a special performance by Christian music artist Dante James. A graduate of Charles County Public Schools and son of Roshanda James, a first-grade teacher at Wade and a member of the school’s Go Green Team, Dante James enthralled the audience with his song “Pick it Up! — Go Green 2023.” Collaborating with his sister, Dondre’ana James, a reading interventionist IA at Theodore G. Davis Middle School, and friend Thomas Jasmine, the talented artist produced a music video showcasing the participation of Wade Elementary School students and staff. The video premiered on YouTube and can be found on the Wade Elementary Go Green Team’s channel, serving as an inspiring testament to the school’s commitment to recycling and other environmentally friendly initiatives.

According to Joy Fisher, a special education instructional assistant, Earth Day has always been celebrated at Wade Elementary School. However, this year, thanks to a suggestion from a member of the Go Green Team, the day evolved into a far-reaching beautification project. The enthusiastic support of the school’s teachers played a significant role in the event’s success. Fisher remarked, “We have really good supportive teachers who will support a lot of things we do at school.”

The resourcefulness of the faculty was evident when Stephanie Shanholtzer, a second-grade teacher, reached out to a representative from Lowe’s to inquire about a possible discount on plants. Instead of a discount, the store generously donated the plants. Combined with the school’s existing gardening equipment and other necessary supplies, the project was well-equipped, and there was an abundance of helping hands ready to contribute.

To ensure efficient coordination, each grade level was assigned a specific outdoor area to transform. Fifth-grade teacher Katrina Flores’s students took charge of an interior courtyard, dedicating an afternoon to the task at hand. Collaborating in teams of two or three, the students diligently pulled weeds and tidied up the space, working together to bring about visible improvements.

For students like Nadia Thomas and Mackenzie Davis, getting their hands dirty and even relocating the occasional worm to a more suitable habitat was a small price to pay for the satisfaction of completing the project. Recognizing the significance of their efforts, Thomas expressed, “It helps us live better and to have a better Earth.” Davis added, “I mean, there’s only one Earth. We have to protect it.”

The Wade Elementary School community’s collective dedication to environmental stewardship is evident through their successful Earth Day beautification project. By engaging in hands-on activities and promoting a spirit of teamwork, the students and staff exemplified the importance of caring for the environment. As their efforts continue to inspire others, the school’s commitment to sustainability serves as a shining example for educational institutions and communities alike.

Wade Elementary School’s celebration of Earth Day extended far beyond the typical observance, thanks to the Go Green Team’s vision and determination and the staff’s unwavering support. By incorporating a week-long beautification project into their Earth Day festivities, the school demonstrated a holistic approach to environmental education.

The students’ involvement in pulling weeds, cleaning up trash, and planting flowers not only improved the aesthetics of the campus but also instilled a sense of responsibility and stewardship for the environment. Through their actions, the young participants learned firsthand the importance of preserving and protecting the natural world.

The impact of the beautification project was amplified by the visit of Christian music artist Dante James, who not only entertained the students with his performance but also delivered a powerful message through his song “Pick it Up! — Go Green 2023.” By engaging with students through music and visual storytelling, James effectively conveyed the significance of environmental conservation and inspired the next generation to take action.

The music video featuring Wade Elementary School students and staff showcases their dedication and enthusiasm for making a positive difference. By utilizing online platforms such as YouTube, the school’s Go Green Team ensured that their message of sustainability and environmental responsibility would reach a wider audience. The video serves as a source of inspiration and a call to action for viewers to reflect on their own impact on the environment.

The collaborative efforts of the school’s teachers, students, and Lowe’s exemplify the power of community partnerships in promoting environmental initiatives. Stephanie Shanholtzer’s resourcefulness in approaching Lowe’s for support and the store’s generous donation of plants exemplify the potential for businesses and educational institutions to work together towards a common goal. Such collaborations not only provide tangible resources but also foster a sense of community and shared responsibility.

Wade Elementary School’s commitment to environmental education extends beyond Earth Day celebrations. As a designated Maryland Green School, the institution has consistently demonstrated its dedication to sustainable practices and environmental education. The ongoing efforts of the Go Green Team and the supportive teachers ensure that environmental awareness is integrated into the curriculum and woven into the fabric of school life.

The beautification project at Wade Elementary School serves as an inspiration for other schools and communities to take a proactive approach to environmental conservation. By organizing similar initiatives, educational institutions can instill in their students a sense of environmental responsibility and empower them to make a positive impact on the world around them.

As the school year progresses, Wade Elementary School will continue its commitment to sustainability, recycling, and other environmentally friendly practices. The legacy of the Earth Day beautification project will serve as a reminder of the collective power of individuals coming together for a common cause.

In a world facing environmental challenges, the efforts of schools like Wade Elementary School are a beacon of hope. By nurturing a sense of environmental consciousness and empowering young minds to become stewards of the planet, educational institutions can pave the way for a more sustainable future. Through their actions and initiatives, they inspire us all to step up and protect the Earth we share.

David M. Higgins II, Publisher/EditorEditor-in-Chief

David M. Higgins II is an award-winning journalist passionate about uncovering the truth and telling compelling stories. Born in Baltimore and raised in Southern Maryland, he has lived in several East...

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