by Becky GINOS
WOODS CROSS—Anyone who has gone by Woods Cross High School in the last couple of years knows the building has been under heavy construction. But thanks to the Latinos in Action class and GSBS Architects they’re turning debris into something beautiful.
Students are collecting building materials, scraps and construction debris to make sustainable up-cycling artistic planters where they will plant donated seeds and plants.
“We’ve been working since 2005 with the district on early designs,” said Ben Lowry with GSBS Architects. “It’s been a multiple phase project and this is the construction phase this year. We wanted to engage some of the students who’ve had to study in a construction zone.”
Last week GSBS gave a presentation on the project and took students behind the barriers, Lowery said. “Today we’re building planters with materials from the school. Rather than having it go to the landfill they’re creating art. Seeing the creative approach they can take has been a fun project.”
Latinos in Action is a bilingual leadership class. “They help the community through service and translation,” said English teacher and class advisor Kelly Avalos. “We go to Adelaide Elementary and tutor children in English and math.”
Avalos has 32 10th through 12th graders in the group. “The focus is on giving them opportunities and getting them to school,” she said. “I help them with scholarships and encourage continuing education. These kids are first generation college students or even high school graduates so we focus on getting them to the next level.”
It’s a national program that Avalos has been involved with since 2011. “Statistically speaking more kids have continued onto school than when I started in the program.”
Athena is a junior at Woods Cross and part of Latinos in Action. “I love it, I can’t wait to do this next year,” she said while helping mix cement. “This is probably my favorite project all year.”
She has also enjoyed tutoring at the elementary school. “We have the same kids one is in kindergarten and one is in first grade,” said Athena. “I love being able to help them learn what they need to in order to move on.”
“Latinos in Action is where people from all different cultures come together to help teach little kids and build things like in real life,” said Junior who is a senior at the school. “I didn’t know I could build a tower. I can’t wait to see the finished school. We’re lucky because this is way better than sitting in class doing homework.”