It was the beginning of the 2011-12 school year at Stanton Smith Elementary in Whitehouse, Texas, and Mr. Curtis Williams, principal of SS Elementary was conducting business of getting the paper work in order as the year began. A third grade young lady came to his office to ask for a trash bag. He got her one, thinking that the teacher had asked for one, and went on about his business. After this had happened a few times, Mr. Williams asked what she wanted the bag for. Maggie Latham told him that she had seen a lot of trash on the play ground and she wanted to pick it up. Mr. Williams was quite impressed with this young lady’s initiative. He outfitted her with a bag and included a set of gloves. That began the routine as Maggie came in from time to time to get a bag and collect litter on the playground. Soon, Maggie had some friends helping with the project and so the group grew.
This project started with one individual, Maggie Latham, making a decision that trash was NOT okay in her school yard. After picking up trash a few times by herself, she also realized that she needed additional hands to accomplish the task, and recruited more students to the cause. After a visit by the Don’t Mess With Texas Litter Force last year, she was introduced to the whole campus, and now even the fifth graders are helping with picking up trash. According to the some of the students, there is less trash and the students themselves are more aware of the litter around the school; some even are picking up trash around their neighborhoods. And it started with one little girl!
Keep Texas Beautiful was impressed, and awarded Maggie 2nd place in the running for the Ruthe Jackson Youth Leadership Award……Congratulations, Maggie! The Ruthe Jackson Award recognizes the outstanding efforts made by youth whose accomplishments are bringing about cleaner, more beautiful campuses, parks and communities, thus making Texas a better place to live.