Project Shine volunteers beautify five Independence schools

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. - Volunteers in Independence braved the heat and put in a lot of hard work to help upgrade and maintain schools in the Independence School District.

Rai'lyn Dunn will be a sophomore at William Chrisman High School in the fall. She spent Saturday morning at her school taping and painting walls.

"Now it's going to be all perfect for the next comers," Dunn said.

Hundreds of people volunteered at five Independence schools on Saturday for Project Shine.

Project Shine began with the annexation of six schools from Kansas City to the Independence School District.

An emergency cleanup of those schools was necessary to get them ready for students.

Project Shine was then born as an annual event, with more than 1,000 community members showing up to paint, polish and prune five schools each year.

It continues to grow each year and helps save money for the Independence School District.

Superintendent of schools Dr. Dale Herl is among the free laborers but said Project Shine isn't just about the money. They're also building relationships with the community.

"Over the last six years, just on labor alone we've saved just over three quarters of a million dollars," Herl said. "But what we love is having people from the community in our schools."

This year, five schools - Bryant, Fairmount and Sugar Creek Elementary, Pioneer Ridge Middle School and William Chrisman High School - were filled with dozens of volunteers. The district will focus on five other schools next year.

Students head back to class in Independence on Aug. 14.

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