Large, green signs throughout local roadways mark the efforts of Wapakoneta High School students volunteering to do a job that many drivers may rarely notice — highway cleanup.
Three organizations at Wapakoneta High School are dedicated to the Adopt-A-Highway program — Fellowship of Christian Athletes, National Honors Society and the Octagon Club.
WHS senior Morgan Dirr, 17, is involved in all three organizations and volunteers her time in her busy schedule to clean up at each club’s scheduled trash pickup date.
“It’s really important for the community to have nice highways and travel roads because, when other people come to our town, we want it look clean,” Dirr said, “we want to make a good impression, and that’s one way of doing that.”
Dirr said she does not believe too many locals notice their efforts; however, she said they would surely notice if there were no volunteers.
“You can’t usually tell because the grass is so tall,” Dirr said, “but, when you get in there, you find beer cans and paper and McDonalds’ stuff people throw out their windows — we wear protective gloves.”
Dirr said her groups sometimes find what she describes as “trash treasures.”
“We have competitions sometimes to see who can find the best trash treasure,” Dirr said, noting that they never take any items home with them. “We found a car door before, a big, pink flower thing and a Hello Kitty thing.”
Dirr said the only time she does not enjoy volunteering for the cleanup is when it is cold outside. Regardless of the weather, Dirr said the volunteers form friendships and have fun together.
“You laugh and make fun of the things you find — it’s not really boring,” Dirr said.
Some of the clubs clean up their roadways more often than others, Dirr said, so some are dirtier than others.
“Sometimes it’ll gross you out, but that’s life,” Dirr said.
Each time a group is scheduled to cleanup, they will meet at the high school and fill up trucks full of volunteers. Then, Dirr said they drive to opposite sides of the roadway and meet in the middle. Depending on the amount of volunteers, she said clean up can take anywhere from a half hour to two hours to complete.
For more information, see the Saturday, Dec. 14 edition of the Wapakoneta Daily News.