Over 3,000 volunteers across the city descended on D.C. Public Schools on Saturday to help DCPS start the year off right. Now in its 7th year, DCPS Beautification Day is the official citywide “spruce up” of D.C. Public Schools and grounds. The annual event serves as a win-win for DC residents that want to give back to the community and the students that benefit from learning in well-maintained, clean and “beautified” facilities.
For school staff, the volunteer help means everything. The day allows schools to “spend time bonding with the community,” says Dawn Clemens, principal of Stuart-Hobson Middle School in Capitol Hill. Volunteers were able to pitch in with major projects, such as gardening and mural painting, that the school staff typically cannot do.
Stuart-Hobson, located in an 84-year-old building, is currently undergoing a 3-5 year renovation. Although the renovation process will be ongoing throughout the school year, volunteers were able to get the building ready for the first phase and help teachers move their supplies back into the classroom after months of construction. Volunteers representing DC Trojans and New Leaders Council-DC (NLC-DC) bonded while dusting furniture, moving boxes, picking weeds and planting flowers at the Capitol Hill cluster school.
Going into next year, Principal Clemens, who is a veteran educator for 22 years, looks forward to a year of “building quality relationships and building community.” For anyone that wants to volunteer at Stuart-Hobson throughout the year, she says “just call our main office.” Whether it’s several times a year or only on Beautification Day, DCPS welcomes community residents to help make our education system and our nation’s Capitol the best it can be.