Making a Difference: Climax Springs students create annual Spring Clean-Up

Mitch Prentice
Lake Sun Leader
Climax Springs freshman Kaiden Phillips reaches down to pick a glass bottle out of the mud along MO-7.

Living in a town the size of Climax Springs, a single person’s effort can make a big difference when it comes to any project. Monday morning, dozens of students and staff of the Climax Springs R-IV school district, as well as community members, banded together to clean up a few key areas of town. The students involved with creating the event hope this will continue to be an annual effort to spruce up their hometown.

Climax Springs clean-up volunteers.
A Climax Springs clean-up volunteer piles garbage into the back of a truck.
Climax Springs clean-up volunteers.

Freshmen Levon Leonard-Dinh, Colton Clemons and Kaiden Phillips were the masterminds of the project. Joni Fields, Agriculture Teacher and FFA Advisor for Climax Springs, asked her students to brainstorm ideas for a service-learning project to go along with their Ag and FFA studies. She says she pitched the idea to the students and the trio came forward with this concept. 

Fields says the project started even bigger, with the boys suggesting that they demolish some of the decrepit buildings in town. Shes says they inevitably dialed back the idea and conceived the yearly clean up. She says she was proud of the boys’ determination to get the project going. 

Leonard-Dinh says they wanted to focus and come up with a plan to clean up Climax Springs. With the idea of kicking off the project in spring, the season was a natural fit for an outdoor effort. He says they wanted to focus on cleaning up garbage and litter around the springs, the roundabout in front of the school, the Climax Springs park and along MO-7. 

Phillips says the project took time to piece together, as there were a lot of moving parts to straighten out before they could gather and get to work. This included sorting out which people would go to each location and even arranging neon shirts to be made for the workers to wear while cleaning. 

A volunteer holds up a bottle of spaghetti sauce found in the clean-up.

Clemons says they were excited to see the outpouring of support from the school and community about the cleanup. 

“With this being a first-time project, the support we’ve gotten has been really nice to see,” Clemons said. 

With Climax Springs not holding school on Mondays, Fields was proud to see students rally behind the project on what would have normally been a day off. She says that, while the town and district may be small, the love for the town is noticeable. 

“It’s nice to know that there is just as much respect for the FFA and agriculture programs as there is for athletics. It’s huge to know that we have so many community members here to help,” Fields said.