Graduate business students help clean up D.C. school

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University students from the master’s of business administration program rolled up their sleeves early Saturday morning to help cleanup Jefferson Junior High School in Southeast D.C.

Starting at 8 a.m., 46 students repainted the school’s basketball court, cleaned out bug-infested locker rooms and planted fresh grass in front of the building. The “work-a-thon” program aims to improve the physical environment of 27 D.C. public schools each year and is sponsored by Hands on D.C. – a non-profit volunteer organization that aims to rebuild public schools in the District.

“A lot of us at GW and in the grad school don’t realize what is in our surroundings,” said graduate student Chris Hedquist, MBA Association board executive vice president. “The high school I went’s incomparable to this.”

Graduate student Andrea D’Amore, vice president of marketing and communications for the MBA Association board, said that they chose to work with Hands on D.C. because of the good work they do for the community. The MBA program requires students to participate in one community service event each semester, she said.

“This is our first year with Hands On, but we are trying to make it a tradition,” D’Amore said.

Hands on D.C. raised $18,000 for a College Scholarship program this year from GW, Georgetown and Virginia Tech at the event.

“We brought out friends, family – everyone we could to donate time today,” Hedquist said. “But we were able to donate a lot of money to the school, too.”

Kate Meehan-Waugh, a teacher at the Washington International High School, also brought a group of 10th graders to volunteer at Jefferson.

“We feel pretty lucky with the school and the environment we have (at Washington International),” said Meenan-Waugh, who has volunteered in similar projects for the past few years. “We want to make sure that all D.C. students have the same opportunity to be educated in a safe and clean environment.”

Jefferson principal, Mensa Ankh Maa, said he appreciated the work and effort of each volunteer.

“(The event) is a good show of people coming in to help better the education of students at our school,” Maa said. “We wanted to do something tangible that kids will see when they come to school Monday.”

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