Middle Schoolers help ‘Pay-It-Forward’

Times Observer photo by Brian Ferry Beaty-Warren Middle School students affix their handprints to the wall beneath the Third Avenue underpass after painting over graffiti there during the school’s Pay-It-Forward Day.

There are many things that qualify as serving community.

Cleaning along roads and waterways counts.

Eliminating graffiti and beautifying spaces work. Raising food and money for worthy causes certainly do.

And so do reading to young children and sending letters to people who might not get many visitors.

Students at Beaty-Warren Middle School did all those things and more on the school’s Paying-It-Forward Day.

Times Observer photo by Brian Ferry Beaty-Warren Middle School students (from left) Gracie Page, Hayden Schuler, and Brooke Sherry clean up along Conewango Avenue during the school’s Pay-It-Forward Day.

Students talked with their teachers about what kinds of things they could do.

“It was supposed to be student driven,” Principal Shannon Yeager said. “They were tasked with, ‘How can you have a positive impact in the Warren community?'”

All afternoon, students worked in their classrooms, on the school grounds, and out in the community.

Those who went the farthest were from Stephanie Massa’s class. They spent time with young students at the Jefferson DeFrees Family Center – reading, coloring, and playing games in the gym.

Members of the Student Council have adopted a two-mile stretch of Conewango Avenue. They broke into three groups and cleaned up along the road Friday.

Other groups worked on Beaty playground, field, the trail between the field and the Conewango Creek and the underpass between the school and those locations.

“We wanted to get rid of the graffiti,” Nicole Chapel said.

Initially, her students were just going to paint the wall under the bridge a solid color.

Then, they decided to personalize the location — placing their painted handprints all over that wall.

Student in Megan Yeager’s class wrote letters to residents at Kinzua Healthcare and Rehabilitation.

Justin Norris’ class collected 67 canned goods to give to the Salvation Army while Sarah Dwyer’s held a bake sale and raised $212 for Paws Along the River Humane Society.

Jeremy Criswell’s class did some landscaping around the building.

In all, students spent the day Paying It Forward.


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