The Falling Creek Middle School PRIDE Honors Academy in partnership with the James River Association, Meadowbrook Estates Civic Association, Virginia Wastes Services, and the Falling Creek community, had a perfectly clear day last Saturday to pursue their efforts with a clean-up campaign along the Falling Creek Reservoir and its watershed. The 28 classmates, parents, teachers and adult volunteers met in the school’s library where their tools for the morning were laid neatly on the reading tables - safety vest, gloves, trash bags hanging over the chair and trash grabbers, with the inscription of the James River Association. As the volunteers exited the building, most migrated to the reservoir area and took to the trail. The remaining volunteers picked-up litter on the school grounds. With the support of Shoosmith Brothers and Virginia Waste Systems providing the dumpster and weighing the poundage pick-up, the PRIDE team and adult volunteers cleaned-up up 420 pounds of litter.
This is the first year for the PRIDE Honors Academy at Falling Creek Middle. Selections for the academy involved an application process submitted by students during their fifth-grade year. The students attend all of their academic classes together except their electives and are required to take a world language or performing arts class. Outside activities include 20 hours of volunteer work. The academy also had a day trip to the James River Ecology School on the Presquile National Wildlife Refuge Island the day before the ecology school celebrated their grand opening.
Melanie Knowles, principal of Falling Creek Middle, says the program gives the students an opportunity to showcase their talents and creativity, not just their strength in academics. “It is a wonderful opportunity for them to share with other students their vast knowledge of things. To really share their talents and creativity, not only their academic strengths.”
Several of the sixth-grade honor’s group spoke about the program and how they felt it was important for them. Miah Davis said the program was something she felt would help her in the future. Shamaja Rowe said, “It helps us to set a good example for the kids that will come up next. You are like a role-model for them.” Alex Davis commented about his daughter being part of the program. He said, “I think it is good for her because of her desire to set a good example. A role-model for the kids coming up. To do something to better herself – it’s very positive.”
School Broad Representative for Dale, David Wyman, also volunteered with the clean-up. He was very impressed with the program and thought the clean-up activity was great and that it illuminated Chesterfield County School’s strategic plan and its path to achieving its vision and goals as well as the core values – respect, responsibility, honesty and accountability. “It’s a great idea,” he said. “Serving the community, that is exactly what these kids are doing at Falling Creek Middle. Plus – It [the clean-up] is a lot of fun.”