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Whiteside School was recognized as a Service-Learning Leader School - one of only 16 in the nation - by the Corporation for National and Community Service for their efforts to restore the Whiteside Family Cemetery.   The article below appeared in the April 19, 2002 edition of the Belleville News-Democrat.  You can also read the official Press Release and Whiteside School Profile on the CNCS website.

Apr 19th, 2002

Whiteside students honored for cleaning cemetery

By Jaime Ingle

Cleaning up the Whiteside family's cemetery on the hill by Whiteside School has won teachers and students national recognition.

The Belleville school is one of 16 national winners in the National Service-Learning Leader School program sponsored by the Corporation for National and Community Service, a federal agency based in Washington, D.C.

Whiteside eighth-grader Ashley F. smiled proudly Thursday when Superintendent Karen Meng announced the news to a core group of students who have helped rehab the cemetery, research the Whiteside family's history or tend the school's pond sanctuary and courtyard plants.

"We helped put in bunches of plants and called to get the lowest prices on plants and benches," Ashley said of her work with other students on the project.

Science teacher Ellen Reilly said some students didn't like the idea of working in the cemetery, but quickly warmed up to the idea.

"Some were apprehensive at first, but most of them thought it was cool," Reilly said.

Seventh-grader Jerrell P. said he enjoyed weeding the cemetery and seeing the old tombstones restored.

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Whiteside students talk about their project.
Photo Credit:  ZIA NIZAMI/News-Democrat

"It was worth it because we wanted to see it look better," he said.

Meng said the district has received $30,000 in grants in the past three years to make the improvements and plans to apply for another grant this year.

Science and social studies teacher Marvina Jones said the restoration work provided hands-on science work and helped students hone their literary research skills by looking up facts about Whiteside family genealogy.

Language arts and science teacher Monica Ybarra said students and teachers will create a Web site for the genealogy information and will burn a CD-ROM that will be sent to the Library of Congress

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