It was a little more than four years ago now that Eleanor Stroud, along with some parents and former Principal, Evander French, noticed the ever-increasing amount of plastic bottles throughout the school.
At a school council meeting it was decided to start some sort of recycling program.
And last month, Governor Deval Patrick and Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Richard K. Sullivan, Jr. honored that program, now called the Green Team.
During a State House ceremony, Secretary Sullivan recognized schools and nonprofits from 19 communities across Massachusetts. The awards credited programs in the categories of renewable energy, water conservation, environmental protection and recycling. Each honored school received a certificate in recognition of its energy and environment leadership
“We pay tribute to the students and teachers who endeavor to raise awareness about energy and environmental issues that affect us all,” Secretary Sullivan said. “Their commitment, which goes far beyond the classroom, is an inspiration to us as a Commonwealth.”
Winners were awarded $100 to $400 prizes. Paid for by the Massachusetts Environmental Trust, the awards are intended to fund further environmental education initiatives at the schools.
“The Trust congratulates students and educators who dedicate their time, effort and resources to incorporate the environment into their curriculum. I commend all the students and teachers for their hard work and creativity,” said James Gomes, trustee of the Massachusetts Environmental Trust.
McCall sixth, seventh and eighth graders, along with Stroud and McCall teacher, Everlyn Galatis, spend some of their free time walking around the school building collecting plastic bottles, cleaning them and making sure they are recycled.
“It’s a recognition of the students’ hard work because that goes very unrecognized,” Stroud said. “They do the dirty work. No one sees them cleaning the bottles or taking them to the Transfer Station. They’re the unsung heroes. And for them to get the opportunity to be recognized by the state is really great for the kids.”
According to Galatis, the students average recycling 2,000 bottles a week, and during the hotter weather that number can double or even triple.
“I think, for the most part, these kids are committed to the environment,” Galatis said. “It’s just really impressive to see children take an active role in the environment.”
McCall won third prize – $100 from the state – and the students were invited to the State House to be congratulated.