Over the past couple of weeks many hands have made for light work at Cranston High School West (CHSW) as some much-needed beautification has been taking place, thanks to the efforts of many.
The football stadium bleacher seats were recently painted, thanks to a crew of staff and students giving of their time after school, and the picnic tables in the courtyard got a face-lift last week as well, as staff, students, alumni, and community partners came together after school.
“Ed Brady had reached out last year about getting these tables redone, but we just ran out of time,” said faculty member Craig Sacco. “He reached out again this fall, and we put something out to the students, looking for volunteers. We got 20 students of all ages and all grades that responded, and the weather cooperated.”
Brady, who is on the Cranston City Council, is a CHSW alumni and co-owner of the Thirsty Beaver with Justin Erickson, also a West alumni. The two are also members of the CHSW Alumni Association, and were involved in the recent auditorium renovation project along with their fellow alumni as well as other community projects throughout the city.
“Craig was our hockey coach when we were here,” Brady said. “We have wanted to do this since last spring. It’s another community-based project, and we have other projects in mind for the future. It’s great to have an area for the students and the teachers. The auditorium project is ongoing, with seats still for sale, and the proceeds help to fund future projects.”
CHSW Alumni Association president David DiMaio donated the money for the paint and materials and was on hand helping to sand and paint the tables along with Brady, the staff and students.
Both Sacco and Brady agree that both the students’ ownership of the project and their sense of pride were critical to their success at school.
“When the kids are comfortable and take pride in their school, they want to learn,” said Brady.
Sophomore Katherine Vargas responded to the email request for volunteers for exactly that reason.
“I saw an opportunity to help out when the school sent out the email,” said Vargas. “I thought it was a great idea and it would help the school look a little livelier. I come out here for lunch with my friends a lot.”
The students earned community service hours for both the picnic table and the bleacher projects, as they took place after school.
Principal Tom Barbieri was grateful for the help from the community.
“I don’t take anything for granted,” he said. “As small as it is or as big as it is, this goes a long way for our community. When you come out here you see alumni, staff, and current falcons, al working side-by-side to help make the school look better. This project, along with the bleacher painting project validate for me just how fortunate I am to be in a community like this one.”
DiMaio cited the success of the both painting projects as well as the success of the recent auditorium project, and emphasized the importance of community partners working together towards a shared goal.
“This is just another small way where when a community comes together, progress is made,” he said.