Think "teenager," and what comes to mind? Probably not "neat freak."
But don't tell that to the 20 students at Stonewall Middle School who hauled trash out of classrooms, swept the halls and washed blackboards at their school near Manassas.
The students, all members of the school's Builders Club, agreed that cleaning up the school would be a good project for the holidays.
"I like to repay people for the things they do for me," said Kartez Quinn, 14, a seventh-grader and the president of the Builders Club, which is sponsored by the Kiwanis of Bull Run.
The idea of cleaning up the school came from seventh-grader Christina White, 12, a member of the group. "I felt bad for the custodians. They clean up behind us and don't get any credit."
Teacher Doris Kahler, who coordinates Builders Club activities at Stonewall, said the students immediately liked the idea. "It's amazing what they'll do when it comes from them," said Kahler, who teaches sixth-grade math and social studies.
So while other students were hopping on buses or walking home, Builders Club members descended on the school with brooms, sponges and vacuum cleaners.
"It's not that bad. It's actually kind of fun," said Kim Schaer, 13, a seventh-grader.
"I'm still looking around for more to do. I want to clean some blackboards," said seventh-grader Stacey Murray, 12.
Club members hope their work made an impression on other students.
"The custodians are always here 24-seven, early in the morning and late at night," said seventh-grader Leslie White, 12, the vice president of Builders Club. "You think about that when you're putting trash on the floor and they have to pick it up."
Leslie said maneuvering around the school was easier than housework because there was more room. "At home you bring out all this stuff and you trip over it," she said.
Agnes Banks, one of the school's custodians, helped supervise some of the students' work. The custodians still worked their normal shift and took care of the mopping and a few other cleaning tasks.
Still, "now they know what we go through," Banks said. "And that's less work that we have to do tonight."
CAPTION: Julia Eaton and Brittany Concepcion empty trash barrels during the cleaning project.
CAPTION: Stonewall Middle School students, all members of the Builders Club, volunteered to stay after school to help custodians clean up as a holiday project. Ashley Elliot, above, tackles the task of cleaning blackboards. At left, James Zhang, foreground, and Kartez Quinn vacuum the music room. The twenty club members who participated said they hoped their project would encourage other students to be more appreciative of the custodians' work. The school's Builders Club is sponsored by the Kiwanis of Bull Run.