The army was in town on Thursday last week, the student army that is.

Following the mess left in the wake of ex-cyclone Gita, which whirled through town on Tuesday night, senior pupils from St Joseph's School in Stratford decided to take action and help with the cleaning up in town.

Pupils from rooms nine and 10 at the school, who are aged between 10 and 13, formed a student army after talking in class on Wednesday last week.

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Gabriella Gonouya, 11, said they wanted to help as much as they can.

Pupils cleaned up at a variety of locations, from streets in town to clearing up branches on farms.
Pupils cleaned up at a variety of locations, from streets in town to clearing up branches on farms.

"We want to help people who have had some bad luck or have lots of stuff to be cleaned up after the cyclone."

The pupils modelled themselves after the Student Army that gave help after the Christchurch earthquake.

"It's about helping people, we don't want a reward or praise. We just want to make other people's life a bit easier."

Kate Beckett, 11, said the pupils wanted to do their bit for the community they live in.
"We are trying to be more like St Joseph and caring for other people is part of that. It is part of the special character of our school so it is important we do it."

Sophie Kuriger, 10, said pupils at the school are focusing their religious education on St Joseph this term, and volunteering fitted in with this.

On Thursday the youngsters came to school with gumboots, old clothes and a willing attitude and set off around the town helping to clear up where they could. They cleared away branches, leaves and rubbish caused by storm damage at the Stratford golf course and along Broadway South as well as from outside Avon Medical Centre.

Pupils also set to work clearing away some driveways and helping clear up on a local farm.