Redwood City honors Woodside High club's ample community service

Redwood City honors Woodside High School club’s ample community service

in Community

One local high school organization’s “Trash Patrol” has become a community treasure.

A Woodside High School-based community service organization called the Octagon Club was recognized by the City Council of Redwood City on Monday for its various community service efforts, including a relatively new initiative called the Trash Patrol that was reportedly inspired by the city’s Public Works Services Department’s annual Coastal Cleanup.

Each week during September, club members removed “a tremendous amount of litter from the stream beds of Redwood Creek, along the curbs of Marshall Street, and within the bushes and fences of the surrounding area, all the while getting to know their local trails and natural environment,” the city said.

“The students wished to help address concerns with increased litter during the COVID-19 pandemic,” the city said, adding, “the goal is to carry out their work through the rest of the year, and continue their mission for many years ahead.”

Highly-active club member Kenzy Mashraki said the community cleanup effort “brings people together and establishes a sense of community.” She expressed gratitude for the recognition, particularly as it will work to boost participation.

“We really do hope to see more and more students, parents and individuals joining us and growing Trash Patrol, and hopefully keeping this legacy for many years to come,” Mashraki said at Monday’s council meeting.

Barbara Keller, a retired Woodside High English teacher who heads the Octagon Club, said Trash Patrol is only one of the club’s initiatives. The club’s myriad efforts have included tutoring, campus cleanups, collecting acorns for the San Mateo County History Museum, volunteering at the Summer Concert in the Park series and also with the Optimist Club Crab Feed.

“Over the school year since September, our members have volunteered over 600 hours to worthwhile projects in our community,” Keller said.

The Octagon Club of Woodside High is sponsored by the Redwood City Optimist Club, a local group of the Optimist International Organization, and was founded June 1992 by Optimist member Millie Price-Cole, along with Woodside faculty advisor Elizabeth Annis, according to the city recognition.  Annis handed off the Octagon Club to Kathleen Coughlin (current Woodside High English teacher) and Keller. The club aims to provide service to the community where needed, along with opportunities for students to broaden their experiences while developing skills.

The school’s Octagon Club “continues to grow, with 56 current members and over 100 volunteers,” according to the city.

“We take deep pleasure in realizing through volunteering that we can make a difference, even in these dark and isolated times,” Keller said.

Redwood City Mayor Giselle also expressed gratitude for the Octagon Club.

“Children and youth are near and dear to our council and to our community,” Hale said. “What a remarkable way to show your service and committment.

Photo courtesy of the Peninsula Optimist Club