Contest asks kids’ opinions on city beautification

By: Sara Kandel | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published May 22, 2013

 The 15 winners of the Roseville Beautification Commission’s fourth-grade essay contest were recognized at the May 14 regular City Council meeting.

The 15 winners of the Roseville Beautification Commission’s fourth-grade essay contest were recognized at the May 14 regular City Council meeting.

Photo by Sara Kandel

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ROSEVILLE — Fifteen Roseville students were recognized at the May 14 regular City Council meeting for their insights on how to beautify the city.

They were the winners of the Roseville Beautification Commission’s fourth-grade essay contest. Collectively, their essays created a vision of beautification that wasn’t tied up in price tags or Planning Commission approval. It was city beautification at its simplest form, rooted in nature, individual upkeep and a sense of shared community responsibility.

“I thought maybe we could get students from the Roseville High School to do something, or maybe local artists could paint some murals on the walls of abandoned buildings, or any buildings that are just there — something that makes people say, ‘Oh, that looks pretty,’” said Audrey Schulz, a student at Patton Elementary, following the ceremony.

“Plant trees — more trees and taking care of the area around us,” said Kment Elementary student Troy Lewis.

“One of my ideas was to send some people out each day to pick up trash and then to repaint buildings and have people take better care of their property,” said Emily Marlowe, a student at Fountain Elementary.

When asked how she came up with her idea, Marlowe responded, “I just thought of the wrongs and the rights and what is right, and working together to keep the city together.”

The contest was opened to all fourth-grade students in Roseville Community Schools.

“We have seven elementary schools in Roseville, and there are 15 fourth-grade classes,” explained Joanne DiCiuccio, a member of the commission. “We asked all the fourth-grade classes to participate in this contest, expressing their ideas on how they would beautify our city. The students replied with many great suggestions, and with help from their teachers, we finally chose one great essay from each class.”

The fifteen winners were Cora Fontana, Makayla Goodwin, Brianna Moe, Emily Marlowe, Genevieve Kimber, Shyanne Riskus, Madyson Marzec, Azyla Campbell, Isabella Alvarez, Cheyann Brass, Troy Lewis, Audrey Schulz, Darron Lattimore, Griffin Davidson and Chris Thomas.

While reading through the essay submissions, DiCiuccio noticed a few common themes — suggestions of improving parks, neighborhoods and Gratiot Avenue by planting flowers and trees and picking up trash. The theme seemed consistent with many of the winners, too.

“We should put trees and flowers in the ugly spots and put them around buildings and in parks,” said Griffin Davidson, a student at Steenland Elementary.

“I suggested putting brick pavers around trees,” said Steenland Elementary student Chris Thomas. “Painting over graffiti, would be something good, and so would cleaning up all the garbage on the ground.”

After receiving their certificates and posing for a few pictures, the essay winners began shuffling out of City Hall. Many wore proud grins, which were mirrored on their parents’ faces.

“Oh yeah, I’m very proud of him,” said Thomas’ mother, Shanti Thomas. “He is a very excellent student.”

Thomas’ grandfather also attended the ceremony. As a retired professor from India, he is especially proud of his grandson’s natural inclination toward academia.

“It was his own creation,” PJ Thomas said. “Nobody helped him. He wrote it and showed it to me and I said, ‘That is fine.’”

Members of the Beautification Commission also seemed to share in the sense of pride, their pride rooted in how much these young people really cared about their efforts, about making Roseville more beautiful. As the last of the award winners made their way to the back of council chambers, DiCiuccio reminded them that keeping the city beautiful would be up to them one day.

“You are the future of Roseville,” she said. “Please let everyone know how proud you are to live here and remind everyone to do their part and keep the city nice and clean.”

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