St. Mary’s students invest time and sweat in beautifying neighborhoods surrounding high school

ST. LOUIS (KTVI) – Hundreds of high school students took a break from the books, Monday, and got to work remaking their neighborhood in South St. Louis.

They called the effort, “Our Side, SouthSide”.

It was pencils down and shovels up for about 400 students and staff from St. Mary's Catholic High School.  They left their classrooms and hit the neighborhoods surrounding their school.  The sight of it moved at least 1 resident to tears.

There were bright green shirts everywhere you looked; it seemed to beautifying the Dutchtown, Carondelet, and Holly Hills neighborhoods that surround the all boys’ school.

Their t-shirts bore the slogan “Our Side, SouthSide”.  Their actions truly did speak louder than those words.

“For the whole day, 400 students and faculty come into the Dutchtown neighborhood and they clean up,” said 25th Ward St. Louis Alderman, Shane Cohn.

“They’ve been cutting grass.  They’ve been mulching trees, trimming trees, picking up trash.  It’s just been a wonderful day of community service for our neighborhood.”

“For us, what we want to do is we want to change the narrative,” said St. Mary’s president, Mike England.  “I think sometimes Dutchtown gets maybe a bad rap sometimes for some of the stuff that goes on here.  It’s just not indicative of the people who live here.”

It was the school’s second annual day of service.  The students built on the 4 miles of street front they resuscitated last year, focusing on the main thoroughfares of Grand, Meramec, Virginia, Bates, and Itaska.  Residents stopped in traffic at the sight.

“And honked their horns,” England said.  “I don’t know how many people pulled me over to the side to personally tell me thank you.  One lady came over.  She was in tears.  She said this renews my faith in the neighborhood and people care.  She said thank you for being out here and doing this.”

The students got help from a landscaping company called Magee Lawn Service, owned by St. Mary's alumnus, Adam Magee, who started the company when he was still a St. Mary’s student.

St. Louis Mayor, Francis Slay, is also a big supporter.

Where did he go to high school?

St. Mary’s.