It didn't take long for students with the Liberty Wrestling Team to appreciate all the hard work they put into the landscape at all three of the district's schools Aug. 22 and 23.
After finishing their work at Blott Elementary, the wrestlers stood back and looked at what they had done.
''They couldn't wait to come back and finish the job,'' said wrestling coach and teacher Hadi Hadi. ''We are trying to build community pride and pride in their school and by doing their part, they also create team unity.''
RIGHT:?Daiquen Greene, a Liberty High School junior, assists with landscaping work at E.J. Blott Elementary School. The team members, who call themselves the Liberty Wrestling Green Team, have worked with volunteers from Liberty in Bloom to beautify the school district’s buildings prior to the first day of school on Aug. 27.
Working with the township beatification volunteers from Liberty in Bloom, wrestling team students from seventh grade to seniors spent the two days prior to the start of school pulling weeds, clearing out old branches, trimming shrubs and putting down mulch.
The materials to do the job, including 21 yards of mulch, were donated by DelliQuadri Landscaping. Tru Green donated the spraying of the garden beds with weed killer, and the township donated some of the equipment used by the students and volunteers.
''It makes me feel good,'' said three-year wrestler Brandon Jefferson, a senior at the high school. ''We get a lot of respect from the community and the school looks better than it used to.''
The wrestling team won't be competing until early December, but in the meantime they continue to train at the school, said coach Ryan Williams.
''We've been running weightlifting sessions since mid-summer,'' Williams said. ''After seeing it (the school's landscaping) all summer, we decided it needed cleaned up. It's good for the guys, and the community service they are doing will look good on their college applications.''
Once school starts, the wrestlers will stay after school for a 45-minute to an hour study session, where they do their homework and work on school projects, Williams said. After the study period, the wrestlers train and work out in the weight room.
''We believe all their grades have gone up since we started the program last year,'' Williams said.
Although the wrestlers call themselves the Liberty Wrestlers Green Team, the name will probably change once other students start getting involved, Hadi said.
Working with Liberty In Blooms, the wrestling coaches put together a plan this summer to work on the landscaping in phases that include planting mums for fall color and planting bulbs that will bloom in the spring.
''In spring we'll do another round,'' Hadi said.
On hand to help students identify what are weeds and what aren't were Liberty in Bloom volunteers Janet Yaniglos and Carol Cupan.
''We're here to support whatever Hadi and the whole team is doing,'' Yaniglos said. ''It is their muscle and the community contacts that made this all possible.''