Theater students become more aware of school environment after trash pickup

Amirah Bauder, Staff Writer

Aurora Phillips
Theater teacher Brandon Riley walks with sophomore Gloria Manning, followed by other theater students.
“It wasn’t like we were just doing it cause we were in ISS, we were doing it because we wanted to. He even said we could sit down if we didn’t want to do it…I grabbed the glove,” Manning said.

“I’ve always believed that our students and our school is capable of just an enormous amount of highs, an enormous amount of potential. With some redirection, two classes have come up here and cleaned the whole parking lot, so just imagine what could happen if our whole school decides we want to do better as a group,” theater teacher Brandon Riley said.

To help improve the environment of our school, Riley took a group of high school students from his Acting IV class and theater teacher Shaun Sheley’s Acting II class to pick up trash in the GCAA parking lot during last block on October 5th.

“It has just been weighing on me that I can’t be comfortable pretending not to see the problems and the things that are going on. I know trash seems like a small thing, but it’s a symptom of a bigger problem, and I don’t want to let myself get comfortable with having my environment or my situation dictate how I’m going to operate…because then that’s going to affect how I am as a person. And I hold myself to a higher standard than that, I hold myself more accountable than that, so I wanted to provide an opportunity for the students to do the same,” Riley said.

For many students, the trash pick up was a great experience, and was their first time noticing all the trash around the school.

Amirah Bauder
A bag of trash – primarily empty snack wrappers discarded by students during dismissal – collected by Riley’s class during their cleanup.

“I found lots of cigarettes, like little small trash things that would have been easy to put in your pocket or to throw away,” Sophomore Laurencia Meyers said.

Sophomore Meghan Brickey agreed. “There was like, too many cigarette buds and glass bottles—like beer bottles—that were like, crushed. And it’s like, this is a school, so why are there so many beer bottles and cigarette buds?” Brickey said.

This feeling of frustration was pretty common among the participants, but some, like senior Reggie Coleman, also made sure to think about where things should go from there.

“I wish other people would feel the same way as Mr. Riley does, by helping out the school. But we can make small steps to build it up to the point where everybody can help clean up around the school, help keep this school kept, and keep this school nice,” Coleman said.