COVINGTON — Last August, seventh- and eighth-grade students at the Montessori School of Covington chose to adopt and improve a segment of the Cricket Frog Trail near the school.
“Service projects are an important part of Montessori,” said teacher Tamela Mills. “Service to community and service to others is one of the foundations of the Montessori philosophy.”
She said that these types of projects are chosen, planned, led and executed by students.
The Cricket Frog Trail is a multi-use recreational trail being developed on the 15-mile Norfolk Southern Railroad right of way running through Covington and on to Mansfield.
The Montessori students worked on the trail for an hour and a half every other Tuesday and Thursday, except during the coldest part of the winter. First, they cleared a 71-foot path from the end of Park Street to the trail. This access path allows them, fellow students and others in the Clarks Grove neighborhood a convenient way to get on the trail. After that they picked up litter, old tires, and other debris as well as built a log seating area in a clearing near the trail.
The students enjoyed the project.
“We worked hard and it’s really pretty now; I’m proud,” said Jordyn Gritten.
When Brandon Lange was asked what he liked best about the project, he said, “I got involved and was able to help the community.”
The students who return next year may continue the project by improving the access path, labeling trees identified along the trail, and continuing to pick up litter.
One of the students, Oliver Domingo, had an idea for placing an interactive sculpture along the trail. He reached out to a family friend and local bicycle enthusiast who created a conceptual design. The Newton Trails board of directors is currently considering their proposal.
In recognition of the students’ efforts and for joining Newton Trails’ adopt-a-spot program, Newton Trails board Chair Greg Richardson awarded the Montessori School of Covington a certificate of recognition on April 22.
Richardson thanked the school and students for their work. He also expressed hope that other organizations and groups would follow the students’ lead and volunteer to adopt segments of the Cricket Frog Trail or other Newton County trails.