Students participate in a community service clean-up day at Ballard Park on June 14.
Students at WestportCentral School made an effort to give back to the local community and practice good citizenship with a day of cleaning at the beach on June 14.
Students in grades 3 through 6 took the day to go to Ballard Park on Route 9N, raking grass clippings and sand, and moving stones and sticks from the shoreline to help prepare the beach for summer swimmers.
“This is a great opportunity for our students to participate and be active in maintaining their community,” elementary school teacher Michelle Rawson said.
Bill Johnston, president of the Ballard Park Foundation, said he was very pleased the students came out to help at the park.
“This is a great opportunity to help contribute to the community, and we also want them to realize this beach is for them and is open to the public,” Johnston said.
This is the first, of hopefully many more cleanup days Westport Central School will participate in Rawson said.
“I hope this project becomes an annual event because it shows students the value of donating their time to help,” Rawson said. “So that all can enjoy this beautiful community,”
Upon arrival at Ballard Park, Johnson thanked the students for coming to help.
“I am so glad you’re coming down to help, we need all the help we can get,” Johnston said.
The students were enjoying the nice weather, and laughing and talking to friends and classmates, as they cleaned the area.
“It’s really important to help,” third grader Mallorie Waldron said as she swept off the beach steps and removed the old leaves. She said she was happy to help out the park and keep it clean.
“Things get done faster and keep clean more when people help out,” Waldron said.
The program is not only a green initiative but is part of WCSD’s initiative to give back to the community, Rawson said.
“This project is something we started this year; however, we have done other community service collections in the past. We decided that this year we would donate more than money,” Rawson said.
Every year, WCSD teaches character education. Community service is one of the traits.
Other projects have included “Pennies for Pets,” which was donated to the Westport SPCA, the third and fourth grades collected money to donate to Haiti coined “Hope for Haiti.”
Supplies for the clean up were donated by Camp Dudley.
Ballard Park, a local spot that community members can enjoy, has a public beach, outdoor stage for Shakespeare in the Park and a lovely garden to sit and enjoy. Johnston said he hopes with the help of the community the park will continue to be a great place for all to enjoy.
For more information about Ballard Park, or how to volunteer, go to ballardparkny.org.