Gympie school students set clean example
STUDENTS at Gympie West State School will join others across the region as part of the annual effort to keep Australia clean next week.
The kids will each devote half an hour of their time to don a pair of gloves and carry rubbish bags around their classrooms, play areas and gardens for Schools Clean Up Day on Friday, March 2, two days before the community are asked to get involved.
This will be the 28th edition of Clean Up Australia since it began in 1990.
Gympie West State School Principal Michael Hobson said teaching students about being good citizens was a vital part of their education.
"Gympie West have always been strongly involved in the community," Mr Hobson said.
"We want to promote the idea that school is not just about learning reading and writing, it's about being a good community member and making a difference."
Mr Hobson said the school's continued effort to support the national cause at a high standard was an "ongoing initiative" carried on by teachers and students.
"I've been here three years, but the school has been doing it a lot longer than that. We've got teachers here who have been here for 27 years, and I think they've been doing it since it started."
"We've got 18 kids in the student leadership team with some of them take on board the responsibility of environmental things, and this is one of them," he said.
"We have a very unusual situation where we have a limited number of bins at our school, because we recycle very well.
"The school's won awards from Cleanaway because we've produced the least amount of rubbish.
"Determining what rubbish is recyclable and what rubbish has an impact on our environment is probably the most important thing that comes through our health program and also in the general curriculum.
"Kids are taught about the importance of how it's going to affect and impact their own lives."
The student leaders, who Mr Hobson described as the "voice of the school", are happy to set the example for their classmates.
"It's very important to look after the environment and the animals, and if we don't the school will get a bad reputation," Sadeel Qdemat said.
"It's good for the environment, and when visitors come to the school they can see how clean it is," Romy Whittaker said.
Since Clean Up Australia Day began, volunteers have donated more than 32 million hours at over 171,000 locations across the country, removing the equivalent of 344,000 ute loads of rubbish.
Clean Up Australia founder and chairman Ian Kiernan said increased dependency on single use items is making the event even more relevant than it was when it started.
Mr Hobson said it was important for communities and schools to try and raise the bar every year.
"The Clean Up Australia Day initiative has been around for a long time, and I don't think there's a school that isn't involved," he said.
"Every year we know we're going to be involved, and so do the kids.
"I think it's an innate thing in communities and schools, that we keep that drive alive by doing something a little bit different.
"The work from the teachers in their own classrooms talking to kids about what it means to their own homes and environments is probably the most important thing we can do."
The official community Clean Up Australia Day is on Sunday, March 4.