For many years, juniors, seniors and faculty have enjoyed placing their cars in Central’s own parking lot instead of scouring Olney Avenue for a free space. However, the lot has fallen in disrepair in some areas. Vines and other vegetation blanket the blacktop, while weeds sprout throughout the cement. With no one to resist the grasp of the lot’s neighboring forest, our parking spots could soon become lost under layers of plant-life. But a new hero has risen to oppose the invasive species that threaten our parking lot. His name, Mr. Howland; a Biology teacher passionate about preserving Central’s campus.
Mr. Howland started a parking lot clean-up initiative in the spring with the class of 274 and has continued the program since then. He has tasked himself with this tedious mission and has labored side-by-side with volunteers. Though student participation has varied throughout the years, a lot of students have volunteered from the classes of 277 and 278. Why are so many students participating in this this program? Mr. Howland innovatively created an exchange between students and himself that benefits both parties. In exchange for battling all kinds of roots and vines, Mr. Howland gives students much-needed community service hours. Through support from the school, student labor, and tools provided by the Keep Philadelphia Beautiful Program (a branch of the Keep America Beautiful Program) the parking lot is looking progressively better. Parking spots formerly unusable are now clear for all to use.
While progress has been made, there is still a lot more work to do. How soon the parking lot is restored to its former glory depends solely on how many students join this great initiative. Even after the lot is cleared, there will always be a need for maintenance. Hopefully, the incoming freshman class proves just as beneficial to the program as their upperclassmen were. Meetings for the parking lot clean-up start next Tuesday and anybody who wisely wants to get their community service hours early and/or wants to help their school should attend. Regardless of how many students show up, the school community can sleep peacefully knowing Mr. Howland is defending our parking lot from the forces of nature.
Picture credits: Emma Helstrom (277)
Ashish Abraham (277)