‘Weed Busters’ team working to clean Salisbury


At-risk high school students are getting an opportunity to work and learn in Success 2014, a Wicomico County Board of Education program that has partnered with the city of Salisbury.

Some students involved are weed busters, trimming weeds and spraying herbicide for the city’s public works department.

SUCCESS stands for the words students, understanding, careers, culture, education, self and strength, explained Mark Thompson, coordinator of equity assurance and student mentoring for the board of ed. He oversees the program.

“We go all year around. In the summer we go for six weeks, from July 1 to the middle of August. That’s going on now. Every month there’s a different workshop. The 4-H, with the cooperative extension service, will have a science program here at the board of ed office,” said Thompson, adding 25 kids students are in Success 2014.

They are paid for summer jobs and also earn service learning hours, required by schools.

The idea is for young people to learn to become successful. They participate in workshops so they can excel in the workforce and develop leadership ability, self-awareness, social skills and a work ethic.

The three-year-old Success program is funded by a Lower Shore Workforce Alliance grant.

“This year for the first time the city partnered with us and took on five students. We pay their salary and we look for work for them to do,” Thompson said.

Mayor Jim Ireton’s office released a press release announcing the city’s Weed Buster program has added summer help including some teenagers.

Mike Moulds of the public works department said the teens achieve “overall beautification and it encourages residents to take care of their property.”

“This year there’s a more unified effort to track the progress,” he said.

“It makes the city look good. It tidies up the city. It’s a good effort and hopefully neighborhoods will clean up their sidewalks and make their properties look nice,” Moulds said.

Thompson said there is also one student at the zoo, one at the water treatment department, five at Trinity Labs, six at the Salvation Army, one at La Quinta, one at PAC 14, one at Peninsula Regional Medical Center and one at Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant.

Thompson said the program lives up to its name, Success, because students find jobs. One is employed full time at Market Street Inn. Others are being trained in culinary arts at Wor-Wic Community College and have gotten certifications, he said.

Students take career readiness classes during the school year and attend youth symposiums.

They’ll go to the youth leadership academy called Super Hero Boot Camp at Salisbury University Aug. 11-13 and have lunch with community leaders.

The idea, Thompson said, is “to create better leadership in community and practice new skills.”

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