PORT ANGELES — Port Angeles High School looks a little more attractive today thanks to the efforts of more than a dozen volunteers to spruce up the campus.
As part of Saturday’s Day of Caring, hosted by United Way of Clallam County, more than a dozen students and adults took time to trim shrubs, weed planters and sweep sidewalks. The city of Sequim also participated in the United Way Day of Caring with a project cleaning up Carrie Blake Park.
Christy Smith, chief executive officer for United Way of Clallam County, said the annual cleanups are a highlight of her organization’s mission to help others.
“Every year we organize community service events for to people to give something back,” she said.
“And we always try to do something with the students so that youths will get involved with taking care of their school,” she added.
Students and adults fanned out at the high school, some armed with rakes and clippers while others spread mulch on decorative planters scooped from the back of a pickup.
Jeff Clark, high school principal, was on his hands and knees trimming down bushes behind the school’s 100 building. He said the Day of Caring was a good excuse to do a bit of campus beautification.
“It’s kind of a day to get some work done,” he said. “During the week, I walk by these shrubs and think ‘I’d love to prune that back.’ ”
Norma Turner of Port Angeles, who helped organize Saturday’s event, had spent previous weekends roaming the campus with a pressure washer, cleaning walls and sidewalks. She volunteered her pickup Saturday to haul mulch to a planter near the school’s 900 building where student volunteers took care of bushes and small trees.
For her, the cleanup effort is personal.
“All my children graduated from here,” Turner said. “It upset me when my granddaughter told me that the kids at the high school believed the community didn’t care about them because they didn’t get a new high school when the [2015 bond] failed. They’re stuck here and it didn’t look beautiful.
“So I told her we should do something about that so she and I came down and started pressure washing. Then we asked other people if they would like to come and help.”
High school senior Alex Hertzog, president of the school’s Associated Student Body, said he felt it was his duty to contribute his labor to keep the campus orderly and to carry that on to other endeavors.
“Go out into the community to make a difference,” he said. “And it’s always more fun with people you know.”
Photojournalist Keith Thorpe can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 59050, or at [email protected].