Vincent’s JROTC joins fight against litter

Published 10:44 am Wednesday, September 12, 2018

By KATHY COPELAND / Community Columnist

Vincent’s Middle High School JROTC has registered to participate in the Clean Campus Program with PALS – People Against a Littered State.

PALS is a nonprofit statewide organization dedicated to providing and implementing anti-litter programs for all Alabama counties, cities, communities, schools and other groups.

Jamie Mitchell, the PALS State Clean Campus Coordinator, speaks to Vincent JROTC students about the program. (Contributed)

Each year the JROTC selects a service project it is responsible for planning and implementing with its mission to motivate young people to be better citizens.

Aug. 29 was the kick-off program for Company ECHO led by Cadet Major Reynolds and Sergeant Major Earrings. In introducing the service project to her platoon, Earrings said, “We are here to teach you, to help you, so if you have questions please ask me.”

“This project is ours, it belongs to ECHO,” the Sergeant Major said.

Demonstrating true team work, Reynolds backed her up while addressing the group of cadets, and added, “This is our school. We need to take care of it. This is an opportunity to show our school pride.”

She talked about the lunch room. Looking over to the school’s principal, she said, “We have done a lot to fix up our school, with the help of Dr. Edwards. We need to keep it that way. Pick up the trash in the lunchroom.”

Jamie Mitchell, the PALS State Clean Campus Coordinator, expressed excitement as she introduced the goals of the program. Using props and a slide show, she explained the kinds of projects the class could do to promote awareness about litter and recycling.

“It can be anything from making book marks from cereal boxes to designated group clean up day,” she said.

Emphasizing that the goal of the program is to get students involved, Mitchell talked with the students about the multiple ways they can make a difference.

She explained the importance of creating awareness about litter issues like the importance of securing trash in the back of a truck.

Trash blowing from a truck onto the highway is a high percentage of the problem she explained.

“When students become aware, they begin to care,” Mitchell said.

Mitchell mentioned some of the activities other schools around the state are doing, and informed the class about the statewide Poster and Recycled Art Contest and the Governor’s Awards Program.

“We are very excited about your participation, and we are here to help you,” Mitchell said.  Then, she reminded the group to document their activities through something like a scrapbook.

The JROTC is one of the largest youth programs in the world and encompasses teaching goals focused on leadership, teamwork, character education, personal responsibility, a sense of accomplishment and service to the nation.

JROTC is popular at VMHS so there are two classes. The Clean Campus Project now belongs to ECHO, but according to Sergeant Major Mary Kyser, there is an Adopt-A-Mile Project is on the horizon.