Members of the DeKalb Middle School Student Council are collecting aluminum cans in an effort to raise money for construction of an outdoor "pavilion type" classroom for science projects and other purposes. The can drive is open to the public. You may drop off your aluminum cans in the recycling bin which is located on a trailer in front of the school by Highway 70.
The student council's recycling committee came up with the idea for the can collection drive. "We wanted to make our community a lot greener and to help with the environment. We have a recycling committee and they came together and brought up the idea of having a recycling bin. We have it up front where you can put your aluminum cans. That money will be going to our outdoor classroom (at DMS) which will resemble the pavilion at (Greenbrook) park. Our goal is to get that built and get that started with the money from the can recycling," said Dulce Maciel, an eighth grader and President of the DMS Student Council.
Suzette Barnes, DMS seventh grade science teacher and Student Council sponsor, said an outdoor classroom would be ideal for science projects and for other classes. " It doesn't have to be just for science classes. It could benefit every student in the building. We could have a signup sheet in the office where teachers could sign up to use it on certain days and class periods. Our goal is to eventually have a sink and water out there and picnic tables so that if you are doing a messy science experiment, you could do it outside versus inside. But if a math class wanted to go out there one day, they could sign up for it and have their math class just to get the students out of the building for a day," she said.
The project would be done in stages as funds are available. Once permission is sought and granted from the school board, construction could begin. " Because of the money, we'll have to do this in stages. Our goal is to get the concrete slab poured this spring. It's going to be a 20' x 30' platform. If we can get the concrete poured this spring then our goal for next school year is to raise the funds to cover the materials. We're hoping to work with the building trades class at the high school to where they would actually construct the building for us and we would just buy the materials," said Barnes.
Although the outdoor classroom project is the major goal for the DMS student council, it is by no means the only one. The student council has various committees that focus on other initiatives including the school beautification and landscaping committee. " They're in charge of putting down fresh mulch and pulling weeds," said Barnes.
A fruit garden is also in the planning stages. "We hope have a blueberry garden. Our goal is to sell blueberries with the money going to the student council account. We had five students sign up to do the fruit garden. They have called on a local nursery to check on the costs of the blueberry bushes. They plan to research the planting of those bushes, what time of year to plant, how to prep the soil for planting, and they will do a soil test to see what nutrients need to be added to the soil. Once they plant the bushes, the students will tend to them and when the bushes bear fruit, they will pick the berries and sell them with the money going to the student council account," Barnes said.
Members of the student council render aid to teachers during planning periods and encourage student involvement and support at DMS sporting events by selling half price tickets to fill a designated student section at ballgames. And when new students enroll at DMS, members of the student council "adopt the students" by serving as a guide in helping them to get to know their way around the school.
In support of the Correspondence with Soldiers Initiative, the Student Council is seeking names of DMS students who have family members in a branch of service. "If DMS students can submit to the office the names (of their families who are in the military), when we start corresponding, we will be doing it with our students families," said Barnes.
Along with being active at school, the DMS Student council seeks to be more active in the community as well. "We want to be really involved in the community. If any organization in town needs help, such as clothing closets and food pantries, etc. just contact us at school and we will be glad to get a student council group together to help them work their event. We want to serve in a leadership role," Barnes concluded.
The DMS Student Council is made up of 39 students in the 6th-8th grade.
(TOP PHOTO: DMS Student Council President Dulce Maciel and DMS 7th grade Science Teacher and Student Council Sponsor Suzette Barnes)
(BOTTOM PHOTO: DMS Student Council Recycling Committee: Raiden Martin, Eli Cantrell, Bill Miller, Anna Chew, Katherine Malone, and Dulce Maciel)