Students paint brighter scene


The streets of Ellis might seem a bit brighter thanks to the efforts of Fort Hays State University leadership studies class teams.

A project to paint fire hydrants and curbs throughout the city, initiated by a fieldwork in leadership studies class team last semester, appealed to five leadership students when staff from the city of Ellis again presented the idea to a class this semester.

"For me, personally, I wanted something hands-on," said Shane Mata, Sublette. "Growing up, I worked at a farm, so I'm used to getting my hands dirty."

Working two or three days each week since April 9, a few days of rainy weather caused minor delays. Members of the team said they hope to have the project complete by next week.

"But you can't curse the rain," said team member Trevor Siebert, Colby.

Weather has been one of the only hiccups in the project, according to Siebert and Mata, who said the project had moved forward smoothly.

"That's helped us a lot," Shane said. "Everyone is laid back, so for the most part it's been straightforward. We knew what we had to do and we pretty much went and did it."

Of the five students, Mata is the only leadership studies major. Team members Trevor Stuckey, Syracuse; Keaton Frewen, St. Francis; Lance Reed, Garnett; and Siebert each will finish a leadership certificate after completion of this semester.

Siebert, who said he's just not ready to leave the area, will spend more time in Ellis as he will begin student teaching seventh- and eighth-grade math at Ellis USD 388 next semester.

Team members agreed they have enjoyed the learning processes they've experienced throughout the fieldwork course. For Mata, getting involved in the Ellis city project has brought to life the importance of volunteering.

"It makes me encourage other people to volunteer," he said. "It is important."