There is nothing that helps adults believe in the generations of the future than when they see young people volunteering their time to do something for others, especially in their own community or school.
In light of all of the school and community shootings that have taken place recently in our country, the PWHS(Portsmouth West High School) Swim Team students has decided to take the initiative to help make their school safer. After hearing that the Washington-Nile Local School District School Safety Committee was discussing ways to improve the safety of the schools, the swim team members decided to offer their assistance by creating what are called, “lock-down buckets.”
“It was a team decision to do this,” Swim Coach Eric Nichols said. “Over the summer, some of the kids were over at my house and I mentioned it to them and they took it upon themselves, to say, ‘hey what will it take in order for the swim team to do this and give something back to the school community?’ “
Nichols said they had had a pretty big focus on school safety and they just wanted to keep continuous improvement. West is just in its 2nd year of having a swim team, and he said the numbers have almost doubled, as they had 13 last year and he said they have close to 24 this year.
The PWHS Swim Team created a committee to help price the contents of the bucket, collect supplies and collect donations to buy supplies. The team held a “Bucket Day” on Monday in which the buckets were loaded with safety and protection items to help students and staff in the event of a lock-down. These supplies included food bars, water, emergency blankets, toilet paper, garbage bags, rubber gloves, “zip-tie style” handcuffs, hand wipes, duct tape, rope and self-protection items (Number #2’, which is a big rock, courtesy of Lucasville Sand and Gravel) to fend off a potential attacker in the event of a school intruder situation. Each of the 111 classrooms and offices across the district will have its own lock-down bucket that was packed with care by the swim team. These students were more than happy to donate their time and attention to help make their schools safer. According to Nichols, the kids and some parents loaded all these buckets in under an hour.
The group was helped by several local sponsors who donated to the cause: Nile Township Fire Department; Matthew F. Loesch, Attorney at Law; Buckler and Sturgill, Attorneys at Law; and other community members who wish to remain anonymous. They wanted to give a special thanks to the Superintendent, Tony Bazler, Treasurer, Sherry Patterson, and the Washington-Nile School Board for their unyielding support of this effort.
The PWHS Swim Team hopes to inspire other students to help make their schools safer and challenged other local high school students to find a way to help. “While we were there filling the buckets, I stepped back, and to see so many kids come together for a great cause like this, it really did helped restore my faith in the future, we really do have kids that are willing to do whatever it takes to make the world a better place,” Nichols said.
Reach Kimberly Jenkins (740) 353-3101 ext. 1928
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