Murphy High School’s Campus Beautification Club met with Gary Chamberlain to pick up trash around the school and neighboring facilities. Photo by BEN KATZ

Students invest in area cleanup

   Murphy – Lowe’s and Murphy High School have joined forces to combat the area’s litter problem.
   On Monday, students in Susan Steiner’s biology class grabbed gloves, reach tools and trash bags before picking up litter around the Lowe’s parking lot just across Bulldog Drive.
   “Come out in the community and help us beautify it,” Lowe’s human resources manager Bill Ledford told the students. “The first impression people have when they drive through – either visitors or people moving to the area – is what they see when they’re driving.”
   With all equipment donated by Lowe’s, the students quickly filled their bags, uncovering trash often overlooked in the parking lot.
   “There’s a bunch of trash,” sophomore Nick Carter said. “I didn’t think there would be that much.”
   The students tied the bags on the gate next to the main entrance to provide a physical representation of the amount of litter collected in only a small part of town.
   Sophomore varsity football player Parker Posey said he has witnessed large amounts of trash accumulate around school grounds, especially after home sports games.
   “It’s pretty bad,” he said. “If it’s dirty around school, people won’t be interested in coming here. A trashy school could seem like a bad school.”
   Steiner, who started the high school’s Campus Beautification Club five years ago, said Gary Chamberlain of the N.C. Litter-free Coalition inspired her to incorporate trash pickup into the club as well as her biology class.
   “It’s instant gratification for the kids,” Steiner said. “A lot of them do understand the problem and are surprised by the amount of trash they pick up.”
   Before leaving the classroom Monday to clean up around Lowe’s, Chamberlain gave a passionate talk about his local anti-litter efforts. He asked students to take advantage of the school’s many programs and help improve the area’s trashy situation.
   “Challenge yourself, and get involved in any and every activity that makes you a better person,” Chamberlain said. So they did.
   Another anti-litter presentation is set for 1:30 p.m. today at Hiwassee Dam, where more than 350 students from various grades are scheduled to come together and mount a similar campaign.