A tradition possibly unique to Whetstone High School will return Aug. 9.
The annual Whetstone High School Community Cleanup of the grounds and courtyards will run from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Principal Janet Routzong participated in her first cleanup event in 2012 before even starting the job and has kept the practice going.
"To be honest, I don't know of any other high schools that do this," Assistant Principal Mike Herzog said. "I could be wrong on this."
"We're really excited about our Community Cleanup Day," PTA President Tiffany Grinstead said. "It's a great tradition at Whetstone to really make sure the school and the grounds are ready for the kids once they come back to school and to really get the community and our students and family involved in that.
"People definitely are moved to take care of the things they participate in helping to take care of, and that's one of the benefits of the day."
Parents, students and community members are invited to participate, with students receiving service hours. The PTA will provide hot dogs, chips and water for volunteers, who are asked to assemble at the stadium concession stand.
"With Whetstone being a true community school within Columbus City Schools, this is just one of the pieces that makes it as such," said Herzog, who is in charge of helping to organize the event. "Year to year, we have people in the neighborhood and community who don't have kids or students in the school or maybe don't anymore and they volunteer a couple of hours.
"You see some intermingling with community members and new families. It is a great way to kind of start to bring together those new families, existing families and community members, as well as members of the admin team."
"It's just an opportunity for all of us to come together and spruce up our grounds and get them ready for the first day of school," said Cindy Pruitt, who is on the PTA's food committee for the Aug. 9 event. "It helps us put our best foot forward and our best face on.
"We do a lot of sweeping in terms of the public areas outside. We do mulch, and we do some planting. The school has two big courtyard areas, so there's weeding that goes on."
There will be a lot of eating going on, too.
"We know lots of people come straight from work or kids come straight from practice," Pruitt said. "We want to give them a little sustenance so they can keep on going."
"Because of our property, we have a lot of green space, butting up right against the park and the river," Herzog said. "We get a lot of weed growth and things like that. With only one custodian during the school day and a couple of others at night, it's really too big a job for one person to do."
Other planned activities for the approaching 2018-19 academic year include schedule pickup for students from 2 to 5 p.m. Aug. 15; and a freshmen ice-cream social from 5 to 6 p.m. the same day.
The first day of class is Aug. 23.