All last week, students of the Fireside School were rolling up their sleeves, slipping on their gloves, and having a little fun doing a massive spring cleaning in their neighbourhood.

It was part of a divisional-wide initiative called Helping Hands that is spearheaded by the operational teams of Rocky View Schools right around Earth Day.

The students of Tim Shaw's grade 4 and Julia O'Neal's grade 2 were just two of the classes participating. There are 815 students in the school and each class participated between Apr. 24 to 28. A buddy system was incorporated to match younger students with older ones.

"It's an opportunity to build community, and especially show school spirit by keeping the school grounds beautiful," explains Lisa  Boersen, Fireside School's head building operator.

Not only do they collect the random trash that blows into their yard, but they also go out into the Firside community to the different parks and outlying areas. The Fireside community continues to grow, and that means plenty of miscellaneous construction material gets blown around. The schoolyard is a collection area for plenty of it.

To add fun to the day, members of the division's operations team supplied food prizes to the classes that find the most valuable item, the weirdest item, and the largest item, and show the best school spirit. The items collected and the school spirit illustrated are all documented by photos taken along the way.

Boersen says the campaign, now in its third year, has a ripple effect.

"The neat thing is I saw on Facebook that parents are taking pictures of their children picking up garbage around their yard, which I think is an excellent thing. It's showing community spirit. It's showing that what they learned at the school from this, and now they're taking it home."