Trashing the Trojan Nation

Litter problem causes concern.

Trash+litters+the+floor+of+the+restroom+in+the+commons.+This+is+the+most+commonly+used+restroom+in+AHS%2C+but+also+most+trashed.

Mason Mcfadden

Trash litters the floor of the restroom in the commons. This is the most commonly used restroom in AHS, but also most trashed.

Mason McFadden, Staff Writer

A noticeable upsurge of trash has become an issue at Atlantic High School, and students aren’t the only ones who have noticed. “Clean up after yourself. It’s not hard, just pick up your own trash and call others out,” said Spanish teacher Dan Vargason.

There is a direct correlation between the cleanliness of a classroom environment and overall learning ability. According to Office Keepers Arizona, trash in a school can collect bacteria and increase the chance of illness for students and teachers. Trash can also have an effect on students’ ability to focus.

In a story posted to Southern Methodist University’s online Daily Campus, teachers are also happier in a clean classroom and have all the materials they need, and that isn’t available if the custodians are busy picking up the trash. 

Pullquote Photo

This [school] is my home and I don’t like seeing my home disrespected.”

— Principal Heather McKay

Atlantic High School Principal Heather McKay commented on the increased trash around AHS: “It’s extremely frustrating and disappointing. I think it’s a basic sign of respect to pick up trash. This is my home and I don’t like seeing my home disrespected.” 

Sophomore Tate Niklasen also noticed the trash building up around the school. “Every day I go in and there’s at least one piece of trash in the stalls or the urinals.” 

Another person who is passionate about making a change Vargason. As the cross country coach, he has added picking up the trash into the runners’ practice on occasion. “Coach (Brad) Rasmussen started it. He was bothered by trash and he would pick it up whenever he saw it, so we took that job,said Vargason.

The team collected trash of a wide variety, including cups, boxes, bags, napkins, and even some unique trash as well. “The team is instructed to go pick it up if you see it during a run, but during the two practices they spent picking it up the team has filled probably about 15-20 full bags,” said Vargason. 

“It feels good to do something productive that benefits the school. It feels good doing the school service,” said cross country runner Bennett Whetstone. 

These runners aren’t the only students who have tried to clean up the school. Vargason has also taken his leadership class to help clean. History teacher Trace Peterson has also taken his class to pick up trash, as well as NHS members cleaning up after football games. 

The high school is planning on buying new trash cans for the parking lot. “There will be trash cans by where the students congregate after games and to hang out. They should be able to throw it away easily,” said Vargason, who worked with McKay to get these trash cans. The trash cans are planned to be concrete so they don’t blow away. They will be black and gold and located on the islands of the parking lot. 

“Do your part and this will be resolved,” said Vargason. A wide range of people are affected by the trash. Teachers, students, custodians, and anyone who visits the school. You can do your part and help the community in just a few seconds.