Now in its 48th year, the movement to inspire young minds to protect the Earth continues as students from L.C. Kerr took part in Earth Day activities Tuesday.
Heavy rains delayed plans to celebrate last week, but students were eager to come out to the school garden and take part in the annual event.
Associates from the local U.S. Cellular store and members of the Master Gardeners Club joined the students and teachers of L.C. Kerr School and took part in a planting event on the school’s grounds. In 1970, the Earth Day movement began as a way to give a voice to the emerging consciousness and channel human energy toward making environmental issues more important.
“The best part about today is seeing the faces and expressions of the students when they pull something out of the dirt,” Luis Vargas, sales manager at the Clinton U.S. Cellular location, said. “Today has been a learning experience for me too.”
Vargas, along with sales associate Ashley Garcia and store manager Roy Badillo, dug right into the dirt, helping first grade students plant broccoli to take home, as well as plant herbs in the school’s garden.
“It’s really nice to see the fulfillment on the students’ faces when they realize they are doing something fun and learning at the same time,” Badillo explained.
According to Melissa McIntyre, public relations counsel for U.S. Cellular, the company engages its associates in ongoing volunteer opportunities, such as mentoring and hands-on learning experiences at local clubs and schools, like L.C. Kerr.
To further expand their impact, McIntyre said that U.S. Cellular associates across the country are once again participating in National Volunteer Month in April with the company’s annual Month of Giving program. After surpassing last year’s inaugural goal of 30,000 volunteer hours, U.S. Cellular announced a goal of 35,000 volunteer hours for 2017.
“Partnerships like this one engage U.S. Cellular associates with kids from the local clubs to focus on and increase understanding about science, technology, engineering and math (STEM),” McIntyre added.
L.C. Kerr principal Jennifer Pope was thrilled to have the associates from the company come out and work with the students in an effort to promote fun learning activities.
“We believe it is our responsibility to help Sampson County students achieve academic success,” Pope said. “With our partnership with U.S. Cellular, we hope to inspire interest in important STEM subjects that will translate to great futures, whether within those industries or another field altogether.”
Clinton City Schools community liaison Faith Jackson called the opportunity a great learning experience for those students who are in Judy Taylor and Kristin Allison’s first grade classrooms.
“Some of the kids think their food just comes from the grocery store, not realizing that it had to grow in a garden somewhere,” Jackson shared. “It’s exciting to see the kids out here, planting and playing in the dirt, all while learning.”
According to McIntyre, to enhance academic achievement among youth, U.S. Cellular has a longstanding commitment to the community and education and has contributed more than $8.35 million to local educational programming since 2009. Participating in the Earth Day event and working with the students at L.C. Kerr is just one of the many ways the company gives back to the community.
Teachers walked around helping students Tuesday morning, as did Clinton City Schools administrative staff like assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction Dr. Kelly Batts and Child Nutrition director Jeff Swartz.
“Thank you goes to U.S. Cellular for the continued partnership with our school garden,” Batts said. “U.S. Cellular shared their time to allow for students to have the opportunity to experience planting.”
Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.