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Billings Senior High School starts new trash pickup program

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Posted at 9:21 AM, May 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-01 11:22:02-04

Billings Senior High School students launched Keep Senior Beautiful Thursday night as part of the Great American Cleanup.

It's the pilot high school project for Bright n' Beautiful, the Yellowstone County affiliate of the Keep America Beautiful.

The orange t-shirts made the students more visible next to streets.

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The junior class normally organizes the prom, but that has been canceled because of COVID and the trash pickup has become the class project.

"I'm glad we're able to do this project and get students more involved," said Parker Friday, junior class president. "And I just think it's an important event to show our Bronc pride by keeping our school clean, and the surrounding community."

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KTVQ photo

"We know that sometimes living next to a school isn't always easy," said Jenny Fleek Airne, student council advisor and English teacher at Senior. "And so we just want to get back out into the community and pick up after ourselves and show them that Bronc nation loves our community because we want our community to love Bronc nation."

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KTVQ photo

"We were noticing this passion among teenagers for cleaning up the environment," said Joanie Tooley, Bright n' Beautiful executive director. "And we thought there ought to be a way for us to tap into that youthful exuberance."

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KTVQ photo

The students picked up trash on the Senior campus, Daylis Stadium, Pioneer Park and in neighborhood.

It's more than just picking up trash.

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"If we can get our kids to be civic-minded and community-minded now, great things are going to happen," Tooley said. "They learn to be responsible citizens. They take what they learned from an experience like this and bring it home, and become better neighbors."

"You know, we've got that rivalry going on," Fleek Airne said. "It's not just football and basketball. It's also in the litter cleanup game."

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"Definitely an honor that Senior was selected to pilot this project," Friday said. "Hopefully we can inspire other schools to do the same."

Nearly 170 students took part in last night's event.

Tooley said she hopes to get Billings West and Skyview high schools involved in Keep Your High School Beautiful next spring.

In Yellowstone County, the Great American Cleanup started on Earth Day on April 22 and continues through to Mothers Day on May 9.