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Schools in the Brentwood-Darlington neighborhood again received spiffing-up help from volunteers in August

DAVID F. ASHTON - Pulling weeds on the Woodmere playground is a Woodmere graduate - shes now in eighth grade at DaVinci Middle School - Sanaa Pond. When the start of "in person" learning was just days off, families of students, neighbors, and other volunteers turned out on the morning of August 28 to help prepare Woodmere and Whitman Elementary Schools, and Lane Middle School, for the coming school year.

THE BEE stopped by Woodmere Elementary School, where a dozen or more volunteers were cleaning outdoor spaces around the campus. "It's so good that our families care so much to come out every year," remarked Woodmere Principal Katherine Polizos.

"I believe it's really important for our kids to have a nice, beautiful place to play when they are at school; the weeding and all the other work tells the children how much we love them, and how much were excited to have them back in the building this year."

DAVID F. ASHTON - Lane Middle School Assistant Principal Sherree Coleman pitches in, hoeing out weeds in front of her school. At Lane Middle School, we found Assistant Principal Sherree Coleman weeding a tree planter on the sidewalk along the front of the school. "What matters is that we've come together, and once again are building a sense of community – and this year – doing so in person," she told THE BEE. "And really, we're coming together on behalf of our students, to make sure when they arrive – after year and a half of uncertainties – that they come back to a beautiful space, and feel really proud of their school."

Our next stop was Whitman Elementary School, where volunteers were weeding, mulching flower beds and planters, and painting – with "social distance spacing" – on the playground.

DAVID F. ASHTON - Dana Pambeck and Chelsea Powers, here, were loading a wheelbarrow full of bark dust to distribute on, and to beautify, the Whitman Elementary School campus. "We're really excited to see kids in person, coming back this year," said Whitman Vice Principal Celina Garrido. "It is joy that is fueling everybody here, as we're getting ready for the school year. We're really grateful to have this demonstrated love of so many people, who have come out today to care for our campus.

"But we do have a little bit of apprehension about the logistics of having school [in person again] – such as our students eating outside, for the first six weeks of school," admitted Garrido.

On September 1, when the doors of these three schools opened to welcome back their students, the youngsters and their parents beheld beautified campuses, thanks to the annual efforts of neighborhood volunteers.


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