Community comes together to spruce up Independence schools - WSFA.com: News Weather and Sports for Montgomery, AL.

Community comes together to spruce up Independence schools

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Before and after photos from Project Shine event Before and after photos from Project Shine event
Before and after photos from Project Shine event Before and after photos from Project Shine event
INDEPENDENCE, MO (KCTV) -

One community in the Kansas City metro came together Saturday with one goal in mind, helping students start the school year off right.

Saturday's volunteering event was part of the sixth annual Project Shine.

Hundreds of volunteers spent several hours at five Independence, MO, schools, helping them get ready and spruce up for the new school year.

"I was scraping tape of walls, so when they paint it will shine," said Erika Becerra, a 7th grader at Nowlin Middle School.

"Putting the mulch on the garden," said Howard Young, an 8th grader at Nowlin Middle School.

The volunteers were made up of students, staff, parents and neighbors. For the past five years Project Shine has been an Independence tradition.

"It's a great partnership we have with the community. Anytime we can get the community involved with the schools, it's great for everybody," said Independence superintendent Dr. Dale Herl.

Herl started his day by painting the curb in front of Nowlin Middle school, which he pointed out was not a typical day as the head of a district.

"They tell me what to do, they gave me a paintbrush and said, ‘paint the curbs.' That's all they trust me with," he said with a laugh.

The projects volunteers tackled Saturday aren't the biggest jobs, but they'll go a long way to welcome students back this fall.

"Everything inside was painted white. Now there's color all over the walls. Everything is a little more warm, and welcoming for the students as they come in," said Cristin Nowak with the middle school.

They were projects that might not get done if not for the army of more than 1,200 volunteers.

"It's almost overwhelming to see all these different businesses and community members, churches, it's amazing the difference, how much has been accomplished," Nowak said.

Volunteers from Truman Medical Center took charge of adding color to a hallway.

"It is quite a transformation. The first time I did it, I didn't quite understand what would happen. Now you see a school turn over in the way it looks in just one Saturday morning. It's amazing," said volunteer Charlie Shields.

Students will be back in the halls on Aug. 14.

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