By Lisa Gilbert
The fall leaves flew around us like so many colored kaleidoscopes. They collided with one another as they made their way through the air, eventually landing on the cold, wet ground.
It was in this storm of leaves that the members of the St. Peter Academy Student Council picked up trash on the sidewalks of West Fourth Street. “We want a beautiful community,” said student council member Ryleigh Clapham, (4th grade). Wearing plastic gloves and using trash pickers, students walked up and down the street with me, their Principal, picking up candy wrappers, napkins, straws and cup lids along the way.
St. Peter Academy serves children from 15 months to 6th grade. Our English Language Arts curriculum, Core Knowledge, is built upon the premise that every child in a diverse democracy deserves access to enabling knowledge. The knowledge base provided through the Core Knowledge curriculum seeks to develop literate and functional citizens who can contribute to a democratic society, thus enhancing excellence and equity for all. To coincide with our curriculum, we pride ourselves in having a vibrant Student Council, on which students from grades 1-6 may sit.
The idea to clean up our street was born out of our first Student Council Meeting when students brainstormed about ways they could contribute to our community. Students had been learning in class about oceans getting crowded with plastics and the role of carbon dioxide in climate change. They expressed frustration that our world is being damaged and wondered what they could do about it. That’s when we decided to do our part to clean up our corner of the world.
The enthusiasm of young children is heartwarming. They threw themselves into the task of collecting and discarding trash. As they scurried from scrap of paper to the next scrap, it was evident that they felt empowered by their good work. They believed they were doing something good for their neighborhood, and that belief energized and excited them. Admittedly, they were surprised by the amount of trash that had been discarded on the sidewalk. In their naivete, they simply could not understand the thoughtlessness of others. “Why do people throw their trash on the ground,” mused one little girl, “Don’t they know there are trash cans for that?” A good question and one I found myself at a loss to answer.
As our school building came back into sight, another child noted, “We should take care of our world. It’s the only one we’ve got.” Out of the mouths of babes, as the saying goes. Indeed.
St. Peter Academy is located at 371 W. Fourth Street in South Boston. We serve children from ages 15 months to sixth grade. Please join us for a private tour – Contact the school office 617-268-0750 or [email protected] Like us on Facebook and Instagram – Learn more about our programs at StPeterAcademy.com