By Amelia Tarallo
Hometown Weekly Staff
On September 17, a number of fourth and fifth-graders in Medfield will return to Dale Street School to start the new school year. Many have not been back since March, when the state began its mandatory shutdown. In the months since then, Dale Street has gone through what can only be called its summer transition. Weeds have overtaken the perimeter of the school, and trash has flown and gotten stuck on the playground. On Tuesday, September 8, volunteers came to the school to give it some much needed TLC.
The idea for the clean-up came when residents realized that staff would be so focused on taking care of the inside of the school before reopening that they might be overwhelmed by the state of the outdoors. “The custodians were working so hard to clean up inside that we thought we would give them a hand outside. The weeds were overgrown, there was a lot of trash. We just thought to make it a little more welcoming for the staff and for the students we would try to clean up,” said organizer Maureen Dodge.
Some volunteers focused on picking up trash around the school, while others fought off the weeds around the property. One volunteer even supplied weed whackers to take on the monstrous foliage. “Every little bit helps,” said Sarah Zengo as she continued to tackle a clutch of dandelions next to the building.
The youngest volunteers spent their time cleaning up, and taking some much deserved breaks to enjoy the playground. Jack Zengo, Nathan Bills, Charlie Bills, Will Koch, and Max Tillmann were excited to help out their school - and to have the chance to try using power tools. “We got to use the weed whacker to go around there and clean up around the basketball court,” one of the young volunteers exclaimed.
As volunteers addressed the outside, other members of the community helped the beautification process in other ways. “I have to give a shout out to Lovell’s. The PTO bought the big barrel that’s out by the front steps and [Lovell’s] donated all the plants that went in it. I was here last night planting them all, and they look beautiful. What a great way to welcome staff and visitors back into the building. The community has been coming together to make this happen. It’s been fantastic. The turnout today has been awesome,” said Dodge.
Students, parents, and staff have already had a chance to see the inside of the Dale Street School during open houses last week. When that first recess comes, students and teachers will surely appreciate the hard work of the volunteers that made the outside of their school a better place.