"720 kids, one clean town"
June 11, 2008 · Updated 11:28 AM
"As you drive the streets of Silverdale this week, you might notice something is missing. Garbage, and lots of it. About 720 students from Central Kitsap schools gathered the morning of Cinco de Mayo and took to the streets to pick up litter during the fifth annual CK Super Saturday. They collected, predictably, lots of cigarette butts, fast food bags and soda cans. But there were also larger items - sofas, tires and derelict appliances.The hardest thing for me was hauling a dishwasher, a bed and a grill. They were deep in the bushes and we had to set them out on the curb, said Ridgetop Junior High eighth-grader Robbie Macaraeg, who helped clean up around his school.Students worked for several hours in the morning through rain and shine - there was both - filling garbage bags that would later be picked up by 20 volunteers from the East Bremerton and Silverdale Sunshine Rotary clubs.What motivated so many teens to give up a Saturday to perform community service? Some said it was because their friends were doing it.I didn't even know (the games) would be here, said Niki Lesniak, a Ridgetop Junior High eighth grader. Most people just go to hang out with their friends.Others felt compelled to perform a service for Silverdale residents and the ecosystem.I wanted to do something to help the community - it's also something that helps the environment, said Natalie Bishop, Central Kitsap Junior High seventh grader. Whatever their motivation, these teens went a long way toward winning the respect of the community.It communicates well to the community, said CK School Board member Carl Johnson, who also pitched in to help pick up trash. Sometimes it seems like these kids are just off doing their own thing - this is a small thing but it shows folks that these kids care.At about 2 p.m. volunteers made their way back to Silverdale Waterfront Park, where they encountered a mini-carnival with an inflatable rock climbing hill, an inflatable obstacle course and other games. Dance music blared as hundreds of students in yellow shirts sat in the sun munching cookies and hot dogs, enjoying the party organized to celebrate them.We do this to recognize all their hard work, said Mona Swanson, activities coordinator for Olympic High School and CK Super Saturday co-coordinator. Another component of Super Saturday which starts months before the litter pick-up is the necessities drive. Participants collected toothbrushes and other hygiene products for donation to the Central Kitsap Food Bank. Fairview Junior High collected shampoo and conditioner and Olympic High School collected toilet paper and feminie hygiene products, with other schools assigned other necessities. While not all the donations had been picked up from the schools, the drive appeared successful, Swanson said. Although there was no food drive this year, several students arranged for the Albertson's grocery store to donate an estimated 35,000 pounds of food to the CK Food Bank.The East Bremerton and Silverdale Sunshine Rotary clubs were instrumental in making the event a success - the East Bremerton Rotary donated $1,000 to make it happen - and volunteers from both groups worked alongside students. My favorite part is working with the kids. I love seeing everybody come out to work for a common goal. I also enjoyed being able to dialogue with the kids about the importance of community service, said John Armstrong, a member of the East Bremerton Rotary. "