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She keeps Lakeville Rd. looking good



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Oxford resident Christine Kutchen picks up trash along Lakeville Rd. (click for larger version)
September 15, 2010 - One of Oxford resident Christine Kutchen's favorite quotes comes from Mother Teresa – "We can do no great things; only small things with great love."

She likes that quote because it reminds her about the importance of doing small things in a big way.

"If you follow your heart and give lots of love, small things will make a big difference," Kutchen said.

It is that attitude that motivates Kutchen to do something very simple every time she takes her dog Bailey for a walk along Lakeville Rd.

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She picks up trash.

Two weeks ago she got in a conversation with a motorist who passed her and turned around in order to ask her why she was picking up the trash along the road.

"Lakeville Rd. is such a pretty road and it is so gorgeous that when I see trash, it makes me sad," Kutchen said. "So I thought that I can pick it up everytime I walk down here so I can make it nice for the next person."

Kutchen, who works as a sixth-grade language arts teacher at Oakview Middle School on Lake George Rd., says that she tries to set a good example for others to follow.

"I try to preach things like being a good role model and a good citizen and doing the right thing," she added.

She doesn't just stop at picking up garbage along Lakeville Rd. Whenever she sees trash in the school's hallway, she will pick it up and throw it away.

She will ask kids at the middle school to pick up trash if she sees them walking right by it.

"I believe in building good character, teaching them to be good citizens and helping others do the right things community wide, school wide and even around the world," she added.

"We all live together and we all have to share this world so we all have to help," she said. "I think that if you can send a message of doing little things, it too is a big help and I think that it gives you good character, makes you a stronger person and gives you a good feeling about yourself."

The character building lessons don't just happen outside of the classroom. Each Monday, Kutchen brings up a different character trait and discusses it with her students, using quotes to spark a discussion and activities.

"I love quotes," she admitted with a smile. "We read a lot of quotes and I ask the kids what is that person trying to say or how can that help you in your life."

In August 2009, Kutchen received a grant from the Turkish Cultural Foundation to go on a 12-day trip to Turkey so she could be an example to her students.

Now she shares those experiences with her students by talking about the Turkish culture nearly everyday in the classroom.

Because of those experiences, she recently signed up to host a foreign exchange student from Turkey for one year.

"If you think about doing something and you want to do it, just do it and a lot of good things can come from it," Kutchen said.

Most of all, Kutchen wants her students to know that the little things do add up.

"Even doing something little means a lot," she said. "Showing people that even if it is just a walk, you can pick up garbage or you can find something else to do and make it successful."

Andrew Moser is a staff writer for the Oxford Leader.
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