Volunteers help beautify Pioneer Elementary

A professional painter, Auburn's Israel Lopez picked up brush to bring a fresh coat of color to Pioneer Elementary School last Saturday.

A professional painter, Auburn’s Israel Lopez picked up brush to bring a fresh coat of color to Pioneer Elementary School last Saturday.

“I wanted to help out. I wanted to make my son’s school look better,” Lopez said between brushstrokes.

Lopez joined parents, teachers, former students, Starbucks staff and customers – a volunteer force of 41 strong – to spruce up the school.

Auburn-area Starbucks selected Pioneer as a recipient of a community service project, leading a volunteer beatification effort to weed, prune and plant on campus, help construct a gravel exercise trail and paint classroom doors and walkways.

“When you start an outreach, everyone wants to pitch in,” said Principal Debra Gary. “They went above and beyond … we had great results.”

PGH Excavating, Inc., Quality Rock Products, Corliss Resources, Inc., and Ewing Irrigation/Landscape contributed equipment, materials and manpower toward the Walk-to-Walk (exercise) Path Project.

Amy Walters, store manager of the Starbucks by the SuperMall, and company volunteers were delighted to help out.

“We felt Pioneer would benefit the most from the type of work we put in,” she said.


Auburn’s Leslie Ojeaburu of Thomas Jefferson High is among the finalists for the prestigious National Achievement Scholarship. The private scholarship, now in its 48th year, recognizes academically promising black students throughout the nation, according to scholarship officials. More than 1,600 high school students were named semifinalists for the scholarship, and that number will eventually be whittled down to roughly 800 winning students. …

Auburn’s Daniel Ahn was named to the dean’s list for academic excellence for the spring semester at The Johns Hopkins University. To be selected for this honor, a student must earn a grade point average of 3.5 or higher on a 4.0 scale in a program of at least 14 credits with at least 12 graded credits. Ahn, son of Seichang Ahn and Hyewon Lee, attended Thomas Jefferson High School. Ahn, who is majoring in computer engineering, will graduate in May 2014.