By Yvonne Dennis (246)

About 200 volunteers who care deeply about Central High spent hours on Comcast Cares

Volunteers removed branches, refreshed soil and planted perennials on Central’s front lawn on Comcast Cares Day, April 30, 2016.

Day last April helping to beautify the school inside and out. But a building populated by close to 3,000 people, situated on a busy city street corner, doesn’t take long to get messy again.

As Central’s custodial staff has been decimated by budget cuts, Home and School Association volunteers have stepped in with regular cleanup efforts aimed at having a lasting impact. Laura Buonomo, president of the home and school executive board, was already active with Central’s environmental-education efforts when she and another parent started thinking bigger.

“We thought, why not try to integrate our environment effort, make it inside and outside and get a group of kids who want to earn community service and help them start to institutionalize the effort,” said Ms. Buonomo, mom of 277’s Kyra Buonomo and 279 twins Chris and Kyle. “So we have, and it’s been incredibly successful. All told we have about two-dozen kids who regularly help throughout the school year and another two dozen parents/guardians who help out as well.”

For Earth Day this year, April 22, the team is hoping to draw dozens of Central alumni and friends to help recapture the energy from last year’s Comcast Cares Day cleanup.  Leaders Jeanne Ortiz, Jean Knight, Michelle Niedermeier and Ms. Buonomo have three targets for what is being called Central Cares Day: planting, pruning and cleaning.

“We have incredible amounts of green, but we don’t have the kind of campus that becomes like an ecosystem of life,” to attract birds, butterflies and healthy bugs, said Ms. Buonomo. “So we’re going to do indigenous plantings throughout the campus but especially at some key visuals like around the flagpole, along the walls, around the school sign.”

As long as they wouldn’t violate any entry-exit regulations, team members would also like to place planters at Central’s three main doorways to hold either seasonal flowers or evergreens.

“I found two planters at a yard sale that are 20 x 20,” Ms. Buonomo said. “They were too good to pass up.”

The leaders have funded the Central cleanups out of their pockets in the past but they are hoping to get donations for the Earth Day effort.

“We need funding for plants, top soil, planter soil and we could use two pairs of planters, so four total. They have to be actual concrete to be heavy enough that someone isn’t inclined to take them.”

Anyone who would like to donate money or materials for the Earth Day cleanup is asked to please contact Home and School Board President Laura Buonomo at or 215.510.2030.

Sign up to volunteer here.

Volunteers are asked to arrive at Central that day with their own gloves and yard tools if you have any at 9:30 a.m. Yardwork hours are 10-2. Rain date is the following day.

Students, staff and Home and School members thank you.

CHS HSA Environment Team Update