Homer Alaska - Schools

Story last updated at 7:56 PM on Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Students' effort launches 5-mile roadside cleanup

By McKibben Jackinsky
Staff Writer

If Michelle Fournier, second and third grade teacher at Razdolna School, thought she'd seen the last of students when she headed home May 10, she was wrong.

Driving home, Fournier was pleasantly surprised to see nine village youngsters involved in an impromptu community effort.

"I began to notice full garbage bags on the side of the road. Then I saw the kids, with gloved hands, working hard to fill more bags," said Fournier.

The next morning, on her way to school, Fournier saw evidence of the students' effort: 30 bags filled with garbage neatly sitting beside the road, waiting to be picked up and hauled to the Homer landfill.

"Our road is about five miles long and they covered every inch of it on foot, on their own. ... We are proud of them for displaying their growing sense of stewardship," said Fournier.

The nine-student effort was led by Elena Afonin and Polly Basargin, and included Vasilisa Serebrekoff, Isavra Basargin, Michael Basargin, Andrey Basargin, Vassa Reutov, Pelagia Basargin and Maria Reutov.

"The roads are ugly, so we decided to do it," said Polly of their motivation.

Working from 4-7:30 p.m., the group covered the dusty, five-mile stretch of road, filling their bags with a collection of trash that mainly consisted of cans and bottles.

The weirdest thing found: a car door.

"We left (the bags) on the road and then David Basargin picked them up and hauled them to the dump," said Elena.

In addition to a trash-free outdoors, the group came away with two lessons, the first one for themselves.

"We're glad we did it," said Polly. "We should do it again next year."

The second lesson was for others.

"Use garbage bags," said Elena, offering good advice for minimizing unsightly roadside trash.

McKibben Jackinsky can be reached at mckibben.jackinsky@homernews.com.