Volunteers paint the basketball courts at MLK Day of Service at Roosevelt HIgh Schools. Photo by Gene Dean.
Volunteers paint the basketball courts at MLK Day of Service at Roosevelt HIgh Schools. Photo by Gene Dean.
Volunteers paint the basketball courts at MLK Day of Service at Roosevelt HIgh Schools. Photo by Gene Dean.

More than 300 students, adults, community members and organizations gathered at Roosevelt High School Monday to beautify the campus and commemorate Martin Luther King Jr.

The third annual Martin Luther King Day of Service brought together student volunteers from both Roosevelt and Garfield high schools to paint, clean and garden different areas of the campus, receiving support from organizations such as Altamed, Public Allies and the Community Clinic Association of Los Angeles County (CCALAC).

“It feels good because I am finally helping. I come to this school and it’s a pleasure to help,” said freshman Roughrider Stacy Gandarilla as she took a break from painting the basketball courts.

Senior Victor Rico echoed this. “My friends are here so I don’t feel alone. It feels very friendly. All the graffiti is getting painted over and it looks good.”

Even someone from outside of Boyle Heights noticed the acceptance. “I feel the pride and the community pride. Coming together has been the best part,” said Brittany Brasher, UCLA graduate and member of Public Allies. “No one asks where you’re from and no one cares and we’re all here together.”

Volunteers add to the gardens at MLK Day of Service at Roosevelt HIgh School. Photo by Gene Dean.

The whole idea for the day of service came from Geoffrey Holman, an Americorps volunteer and partner with Altamed. Holman said he looked directly to what the kids wanted.

“I went out and I saw how many kids use these courts during lunch. I was like, ‘what would you guys want?’ and they all said they wanted three point lines for the courts.”

With that in mind, many of the volunteers took the time to color red and yellow in between the newly-drawn lines, and give the wall behind the courts a school banner. At the same time, CCALAC took the time to clean up the school garden, putting in new plantings and mulch.

The MLK day of service is one of many beautification projects planned for Roosevelt High, according to Principal Bruce Bivins. He plans to give the cafeteria a makeover and find better ways to facilitate a recycling system.

Gene Dean

Gene K. Dean is currently an English teacher at Roosevelt High School and adviser for The Roughrider newspaper. Referred to as weirdly, athletically nerdy, a voracious reader, a brick wall, and a dedicated...

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