I Am Local 6: Third-graders improve Benton Court Square with planting project

BENTON, KY — What does it mean to be a good citizen? These kids could tell you a thing or two about that.

They spent all morning Friday fixing up the Benton, Kentucky, Court Square. Adults were watching over them, but it was all the kids’ idea. That’s why Benton Elementary’s third-graders are this week’s I Am Local 6.

As the sun was peeking through the trees and as you headed into work, these kids marched through Benton with a mission in mind.

“We’re doing a planting project for the court square,” third-grader Cruz Cocke said.

Fellow third-grader Maddox Conrad explained, “We’re being good citizens by picking up the planters, and getting all the gum and nasty stuff out, and putting the nice flowers inside of them.”

As teachers guided the kids in their color-coded groups, one teacher explained that the outing was also an example of project-based learning. Kim Anderson said the students were getting the basics — math, science, reading, writing, even speaking — in a not-so-basic way.

“They made a map of all the streets, and they learned the directions, and the safety of walking on the streets and learning how to use the road signs,” Anderson said. The kids even contacted local businesses to get help paying for the project.

“It would be $23 for everybody, and we had to call and make sure that they were OK for that price,” Maddox explained.

Anderson said they got a great response. “It didn’t matter to them the amount of money,” she said. “They were just so pleased to see the kids working in the community and helping out.”

One of the businesses they called is Color of Light Salon. “It brings joy and peace to my heart to see that they’re just learning a great work ethic and see something finished from start to finish,” Lindsey Ryan with Color of Light said.

The kids even called the Local 6 newsroom themselves to pitch their story to us. When we heard what they were up to, it was a no-brainer.

Next time you’re in the Benton Court Square, take a minute to look around at all their hard work. You’ll see flowers, plants and bright futures taking root.

“I hope they’ll be happy and they’ll think whoever did this is good,” Maddox said.

The kids also designed signs to thank the businesses that helped them hout