'Toss No Mas'

Every class at Valley View Elementary School had a few more minutes of recess last week as students participated in a campus-wide Toss No Mas cleanup event.

Maura Kochevar, a special education teacher with Las Cruces Public Schools, has been at Valley View since 1987. Over the last 20 years, she never missed an opportunity to participate in Toss No Mas, the community cleanup campaign sponsored by the City of Las Cruces. Moving to remote learning in 2020 changed things for the annual event, and Kochevar said she didn’t want to miss it again.

“Our students look forward to this, and we usually get our parents and families involved too,” she said. “Since the pandemic, we do things a little differently when it comes to visitors at our school, but our kids still wanted to get outside and participate.”  

Students were given gloves and trash bags and everyone who participated was entered for a chance to win a Toss No Mas t-shirt. The playground was a major focus for the students, who picked up litter and debris under the supervision of teachers. Some classes also helped out in Valley View’s outdoor raised-bed gardens.  

“Our school is our community,” added Kochevar. “Through initiatives like this, they learn stewardship by taking care of their campus. It teaches them what trash is, how it affects their school and how they can take action to do something about it. Hopefully they will take these lessons home and get their families involved in similar cleanup efforts in their own neighborhoods.”  

-Kelly Jameson is the public information officer for Las Cruces Public Schools