Saturday, August 24, 2019
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20180115 CemetaryCleanupA group of Sharyland elementary students participated in a beautification project last week at the Rio Grande Valley State Veterans Cemetery in Mission.

The 12 students from Lloyd and Dolly Bentsen Elementary School spent the morning of Tuesday, Jan. 15 picking up holiday wreaths that were laid down at headstones for the veterans last month.

The students were 5th and 6th grade student council representatives from their campus, student council advisor Thelma Longoria said.

“It was a community service project where they bonded together as a sign of respect for our veterans,” Longoria said. “We’re proud and excited for the work they did.”
Longoria said she got the idea to get her students to volunteer after seeing a notice on social media asking for volunteers to help retrieve wreaths at the 75-acre cemetery.

The students got approval to take the morning off to volunteer from their school principal, Cecilia Boyd, whose father is buried in the cemetery. They assisted other local veteran’s groups in the wreath retrieval.

“It says a lot about how these students care for the community and are willing to help out where help is needed,” Boyd said. “They’re doing something similar in a few weeks where they will be going to the local Border Patrol station to drop off donations to these officers who aren’t being paid because of the shutdown to show them some appreciation for the work they do.”

Longoria said she’d like to continue doing volunteer projects like this with her students as a yearly tradition.

According to George Rice, a spokesman for the local cemetery, the students were able to retrieve nearly 3,000 wreaths in half an hour.

“They did amazing,” Rice said. “It shows the type of integrity and high moral fiber of these kids and the adults they’re surrounded by.”

Rice added that anyone interested in volunteering for the cemetery can call them at 956-583-7227 or just show up to the administration building located at 2520 Inspiration Road in Mission.