MAHOPAC, N.Y. - If you’ve driven past the Town Hall on McAlpin Avenue near Croton Falls Road recently, you may have noticed that the grounds surrounding the building look a little cheerier and a bit cleaner.

You can thank the 67 eighth graders from Mahopac Middle School who, along with some teachers, school administrators and town officials, descended upon the property on Saturday, Sept. 22, to do some weeding, planting, cleaning and landscaping.

The project was part of the school district’s community service initiative that the eighth graders undertake to pave the way for a class trip to Washington.

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The project was done in conjunction with the town’s Recreation and Parks Department. Jim Gilchrist, the department’s director, was on hand to help out with the heavy equipment and move piles of mulch around with a backhoe loader.

“The kids are doing some weeding, mulching, removing trash,” said Tom Cozzocrea, MMS principal. “Just sprucing up the Town Hall. It’s a way for the students to give back in a way that is visible each time they go by [the Town Hall].

“The kids loved the idea. They were very enthusiastic,” he added. “They signed up right away.”

Besides Gilchrist and Cozzocrea, Nina Kallmeyer, the Rec Department’s senior recreation leader; Dave Furfaro, chair of the Recreation and Parks Advisory Committee; Councilwoman Suzi McDonough; teachers Tracey Riger and Lisa McCabe; Dr. Catherine Sweeny, administrator for Secondary Special Education; and MMS assistant principals Allyson Fallman and Pat Keevins, were on hand to pitch in.

“It’s great because it is a way for the schools and the town to team up and do something positive,” McDonough said.