38 Randall Middle School students have traded textbooks, pencils, and a day off from class for gloves, trash bags, and a day at Lithia Springs Park.
LITHIA, Fla. -- It's a day off from school, but instead of a day at the beach 38 Randall Middle School students have traded textbooks, pencils, and a day off from class for gloves, trash bags, and a day at Lithia Springs Park.
"I'd probably be sitting at home watching TV," says 11-year-old Sam Jennings, a 6th grader.
"That's really disgusting. It's a beer bottle," says one student as they pick up trash through the park's camp ground.
"Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wanted to make a difference. I thought maybe going out in the environment and picking up trash would make a difference," says Sam.
Madison Dowdy, 14, takes inventory of what's in her trash bag so far. "We've got two water bottles, a tire," she says. "It makes me feel people don't care about where they live."
The students are part of Randall's Area Youth Service Council. They find pieces of a fence, toys, tennis balls, and balloons. They spent the morning walking along the Alafia River and filled the back of a pickup truck with trash bags full of litter.
"Picking up trash being out in the environment is actually really good. It's really fun," says Sam.
The students are taking Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s message to heart. Christine Torsone, 12, says this federal holiday is more than just a day off from school or work. "It's a day to work to make a difference in the world. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. did the same thing," she says.
"He brought us together as one nation. We are like a big family," adds Madison about Dr. King's message of equality for all races.
In Dr. King's, spirit these students have come together to honor his memory and help live out his dream. Madison says, "To show the world we care. Everyone needs to step up and have a part in the community and take care of it."
Randall's Area Youth Service Council has spent the last five years volunteering in the community on MLK Day.