After the school bell rang Tuesday marking the end of classes, many Springer High School students traded their textbooks and notebooks for gloves and black trash sacks.

But they did not head home.

Instead they stayed at their school to embark on a community service project designed to benefit the community of Springer and participants who will travel along U.S. Highway 77 this Sunday for the A2A race, said Russell Noland, principal of Springer Junior High and High School.

The service project involved the students getting dirty. Springer students, some adorning red Cardinal gear, picked up pieces of trash and debris along the side of U.S. Highway 77.

“We have kids from every organization out here volunteering,” said Noland, as he held a bag and walked with the students south on the road toward state Route 53. “Some kids are members of FFA, involved in yearbook, robotics team, Student Council and more. They are learning how to give back and be productive citizens.”

Students picked up countless bottles, soft drink cans, cigarette butts, plastic food wrappers, shingles from roofs and even one glove.

Ninth-grader Brieanna Quistian said she travels on U.S. Highway 77 each day. Not only is Springer Public Schools located off the road, but she can see her family’s house from the road. The service project will benefit not only students, but those who live in the town of Springer, she says.

“I am happy to support Springer in this great opportunity,” Quistian said. “This is a great opportunity for students to interact with each other and do some good for our community.”

This is not the first year Springer students have cleaned up the roadway. Noland said for at least the last three years, students and teachers have volunteered to pick up trash days before the A2A race.

Ninth-grader Ryan Noland said he volunteered because he liked the idea of improving Springer’s appearance.

“I want Springer to look nice for the people coming through,” Ryan Noland said. “I want people to think positive about Springer.”

Another group of students will stroll north alongside the road Thursday to pick up and haul away pieces of trash, the principal said.

Many of the students Tuesday said they have advice to those who pitch unwanted items along the road.

“Get a trash can for your car or wait to throw something away until you get to your next stop,” Quistian said.