LARSON: Mustangs, Broncos not just horsing around

Susan Larson

Susan Larson

As the Year of the Snake slithers out and the Year of the Horse gallops in, I thought what better way to celebrate than to honor the presence of horses in Gwinnett County.

First let me introduce the Meadowcreek Mustangs (Meadowcreek HS, Lilburn MS, Radloff MS, Lilburn ES, Nesbit ES, Rockbridge ES, Ferguson ES, Hopkins ES, Meadowcreek ES) and the Brookwood Broncos (Brookwood HS, Five Forks MS, Crews MS, Brookwood ES, Craig ES, Gwin Oaks ES, Head ES).

Now let me tell you a little bit about some of the wonderful things these 25,000 young people are doing.

In 2008, after watching the movie “Pay it Forward” the Mustangs at Lilburn MS students were challenged to brainstorm ways to make the world a better place. They decided to form Team Green. In five years Team Green has recycled over 50 tons of paper, collected trash, participated in Rivers Alive and Gwinnett Great Days of Service and, well, the list is an entire page long. Their efforts have earned them the coveted titles of Green and Healthy School, Reaching Higher School and Clean Air School.

In the Bronco cluster, Planet Green Team at Craig ES gets together at 7:30 a.m. every Thursday to organize a paper recycling drive involving both their school and their parents.

At Gwin Oaks ES, the Environmental Club is recycling plastic bottles, newspapers, cans and paper. Each year the club creates an inspirational skit for Earth Day, members educate students about environmental issues and encourage “no idling” among drivers in the car rider and bus lane.

The Broncos at Crews MS are looking after their fellow four-legged friends with Cause for Paws. Members collect blankets, towels and food to take to the Gwinnett Animal Shelter. They also maintain a bulletin board at school and a Facebook page featuring animals that are up for adoption. Evidently, these Broncos possess a real power of persuasion, as most animals are adopted with in a week of their posting.

Brookwood HS goes international with their efforts with their Interact Club, which is associated with the Rotary Club’s Soul/Sole Project. They have collected over 150 slightly worn shoes that will be donated to villages in Africa where the people are in need of shoes.

The Broncos also support Operation Smile, an organization that helps children born with cleft lips and cleft palates.

“Everyone wants to do something that will help others in their life. It’s a natural human tendency. What better way to do it than to help kids with disabilities go through surgery?” Shirali Desai, a founding student said. “We will be working with Georgia State’s Operation Smile team. In the end, we will be happy that we could help, and the kids will be happy someone cares. Therefore, everyone will have a smile on their face.”

And may it bring a smile to everyone’s face as I feed up a big “Gung HAY Fat Choi” to all our Broncos and Mustangs!

Susan Larson is a writer from Lilburn. Email her at susanlarson79@gmail.com.