NJROTC works to make Liberty’s campus cleaner

Dhwani Porecha, Editorial Board Member

At one time or another, we’ve all walked around Liberty and realized the amount of garbage that has been tossed on the floors of the high school, left for someone else to clean up. It can be found everywhere, from vacant corners next to garbage cans to the hidden areas behind the portables. Four years ago, Liberty’s NJROTC recognized this problem and decided to dedicate a day every year to clean up the campus.

“Back in 2017 when NJROTC was out in portables 5 and 6, the cadets saw a need for a campus clean-up due to the amount of trash they would find in the parking lots and surrounding areas each day,” naval science teacher Captain John Deehr said. 

So, they decided to start cleaning up the campus. This year, the clean-up took place on April 11 and had over 40 participants. NJROTC cadets were put into groups of three or four and each person was given a pair of gloves and a trash bag and then assigned an area to pick up trash at. In total, the cadets nearly picked up 600 lbs of trash.

“We covered all areas including the upper ball fields, tennis courts, football stadium, and adjacent streetsincluding all of Patriot Way. No item was too big or too small to pick up and bring back to be disposed of,” Deehr said. 

While keeping Liberty litter-free helps keep the environment clean, it is also a great opportunity for cadets to connect seeing that the freshman cadets had never met any of the upperclassmen during the pandemic. 

“It was a fantastic way to build esprit de corps (morale), work as a team, and show the cadets that you can accomplish an incredibly large task in a relatively short period of time when everyone is working together towards a common goal,” Deehr said. 

NJROTC encourages cadets to participate in community service events throughout the year as such, Liberty clean-up day is not the only way the NJROTC cadets practice community service. They hold two major community service events each year.

“In the fall we participate in Issaquah Salmon Days by assisting the Issaquah Police Department with traffic and crowd control during the festival, and in the spring we hold the campus clean-up,” Deehr said.

Along with these events, cadets provide traffic and pedestrian control, security during home football games, color guards, and funeral services for veterans. They are encouraged to participate in other community services that they are passionate about.

“In a typical year, NJROTC cadets will complete over 2,000 hours of community service. Prior to the shutdown last year, we had completed over 2,400 hours of service as a unit,” Deehr said. 

However, being a part of NJROTC is not a requirement to help clean-up Liberty. Just by paying attention in cafeterias and areas around Liberty, students may be astonished by the amount of trash that people seem to dispose of.

“If students want to help keep Liberty clean, I would ask that each and every student and staff member take responsibility for their personal trash and make sure it finds its way to a proper receptacle, regardless if you are inside or outside,” Deehr said.

Let’s help make earth stay cleaner with one less piece of garbage at a time!