Irving Elementary School and James E. Dottke High School GE Healthcare Community Service Day!

Irving Elementary School and James E. Dottke High School GE Healthcare Community Service Day!
Posted on 08/23/2019
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On Wednesday, August 21, 2019,  Irving Elementary School and James E. Dottke High School participated in the 25th Annual GE Healthcare Community Service Day.  It was the first time schools in the West Allis-West Milwaukee School District were part of the mega-volunteer service event.

“The experience was nothing short of a miracle for us.  Our Facilities Team and our principals worked for weeks to prepare. Then over 160 volunteers arrived at each site.  GE Healthcare teams were organized, efficient, and very, very productive,” explained Superintendent, Dr. Lexmond. “In one day alone --
we got things done that would have taken years to do.”

At Irving Elementary School, GE Healthcare employees, Irving staff and PTA parents worked to enhance the learning environment for staff and students. Inside the building they painted every coat rack.  They painted the Innovation station and created a vibrant ceiling mural in the library. Volunteers installed a sensory hallway and painted a number of hall murals. Outside, teams cleaned up the Irving bus canopy, landscaped the front entrance and pruned bushes and trees.

“Beyond all that was going on, GE Healthcare also provided generous funding to help us upgrade our tot lot,” said Principal Christine Gosch. “The playground project was also made possible by Irving Elementary School PTA, BCI Burke Company, and a memorial in honor of former Irving 4K and Early Childhood Special Education teacher, Cindy Vitale.”

Once worn with limited play fixtures, the new Tot Lot is a vibrant, colorful sensory area that will help serve the needs of all children.  It features a playhouse, a spin ride, and a climber. It also features a unique music option with three drums and two xylophones for students to play.

James E. Dottke High School had over 170 volunteers who worked alongside staff members to paint the hallways of all three floors.  They relocated the library, organized the community closet and updated the Maker’s Space room. Volunteers painted multiple murals and inspirational quotes on walls and in entrances. They created and painted large-scale wall hangings for the gymnasium.  Outside, teams helped create an outdoor classroom, spread mulch, clean up brush, and install garden beds. A team also painted the auditorium with much needed school colors.

Transitioning from an intermediate building to a high school has made us very aware of our physical space,” explains Principal, Greg Goelz. “Today, we made an imprint of who we are. Working together, we felt our motto come to life: Like a Phoenix - We Rise!”  

Members of our Facilities Department, under the direction of Assistant Manager, Dan Bartz, also really worked hard to prepare for the event.  According to Bartz, “It was a major project for our department and GE Healthcare was really impressed with how well we planned for it. We were responsible for paint and supplies -- everything was organized in advance.  We had multiple supply stations at each site so that work was done safely and efficiently. The Tot Lot at Irving involved our carpenter, Brian Boche, working with vendors Burke and Lee Recreation to design and scale drawings.  Kevin Grisis, Henry Peters, Justin Frye, Tony Schettle, and Jay Zielinski also worked to prepare each site for the volunteers.”

“It's the largest single-day volunteer effort for GE worldwide and this year, we were part of it,” said Beth Koehler, Director of Communication and Community Services. “It was emotional to visit the schools and see what was accomplished in one day.  There’s just no limit to the power of people when they work together.”