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Volunteers Honor MLK by Cleaning Outdoor Classroom in Dresden

Local volunteers spent the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday cleaning up the outdoor classroom at Dresden K-8 Monday morning. Those participating in the Day of Service event included (Front, L to R) Samantha Goyret, Benjamin Beard, Nicolas Carpenter, Parker Brogdon, and Lynn Patterson, (Back, L to R) Ricky Garlitz, Renee LaFleur, Eleanor LaFleur-Garlitz, Nicolle Crist, Annie Poe, Caroline Ideus, Justin Crice, Amanda Crice and Ryan Trump.

DRESDEN (January 18) – For many who attended school at Dresden, the Outdoor Classroom might have been a fond memory that stood out from the rest. Students could go outside during class and learn while being surrounded by nature. However, in more recent years, this retreat for students of Dresden Elementary and Middle school became overgrown and unused.

On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, many volunteers came out to the Outdoor Classroom at Dresden to give back to the community. Caroline Ideus is chairman of the Weakley County Democratic Party and gathered those in the community for a non-partisan day to give back. She organized this service day as Martin Luther King Jr. Day also serves as a national day of service and to celebrate the inauguration of president-elect Joe Biden and vice president-elect Kamala Harris.

Volunteers came from all parts of Weakley County and some with ties to the University of Tennessee at Martin.

The Outdoor Classroom in Dresden was chosen because of the COVID-19 restrictions that pushed service work outdoors. The Outdoor Classroom had not been used in so long and needed a lot of work, which served as another reason to rally volunteers for clean up.

Ideus said that one of the values of the Democratic Party is to go out into the community and help and they were doing that by helping to revitalize the Outdoor Classroom.

“This is a huge asset for the students at Dresden Elementary and Dresden Middle School and we want to promote and help them use this amazing resource that they have,” Ideus said. “… Honor Martin Luther King Jr. on the day of service and I think its important that on today, it’s a federal holiday, to remember and honor him.”

Volunteers mainly focused on the flowerbeds in front of the Outdoor Classroom, moving away weeds and brush for grass and flowers to better grow. All were asked to wear a mask and gloves to participate in this event.

Ideus commented that this was a one-day service project, but there is more work that needed to be done in order to restore the Outdoor Classroom to its original glory. She did express a desire to possibly plan another service day for more clean up at the Outdoor Classroom for students to experience the outdoors through that learning environment.

The Outdoor Classroom has a walking trail and small pond.

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