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Parents and community members pitch in to clean up Lane Middle School in Southeast

DAVID F. ASHTON - In one of the Lane Middle School atriums, volunteers Albert Zayha and Marylu Gray turned to watering the new plants, after the area was cleaned up. For the third year in a row, as the last school year wound down, neighbors and faith groups rolled up their sleeves for a day of service at Lane Middle School in the Brentwood-Darlington neighborhood.

"Here, during our annual beautification and cleanup day, we have a bunch of volunteers continuing to make our school into the gem of our neighborhood community," smiled the school's PTA President, Esther Crowell-Duncan. "For hours, we've been polishing it up, cleaning it up, planting flowers, laying down bark dust, and taking down weeds – both outside, around the building, and in the two atriums.

"We've added flowers to our beautiful front planters, donated by Portland Nursery, and are already making big plans for our next clean-up, because so much could be done," Crowell-Duncan said.

Their vision includes a putting in a "learning garden" in the Library Courtyard, just east of the school. "It would be great for kids to have an outdoor garden as well as a beautiful green space, just outside their classroom windows," pointed out Crowell-Duncan.

She didn't have an exact count of the volunteers, Crowell-Duncan said, because they came and went throughout the day – but she guessed that about forty folks had come, several bringing their kids to help out.

The school's Principal, Jeandré Carbone, commented, "It's really heartening to see people from the neighborhoods come out and help the school; I think it makes such a huge, positive difference.

"I'll be so excited to see the students' faces, when they come in and see this beautification their school, adding an element of pride and thanks for the community volunteers who helped," Carbone said.

Crowell-Duncan nodded in agreement, and added, "I feel really blessed to have wonderful neighbors and a wonderful community, like the people from the Oaks Parish Church and the Mt. Scott Baptist Community Church – all wonderful people who are helping out."

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