The auditorium at New Rochelle Trinity school was packed with excited 3rd, 4th and 5th graders. There was a hushed silence with raw anticipation. Up front were 4 dignitaries and the assistant principal welcoming the kids to the auditorium.
4 weeks ago, Trinity students were invited to participate in a green writing contest. With real money for the winners. And over 75 students rose to the challenge and wrote beautiful essays about the topic ” Everything I do matters!” and it was such a beautiful affair to see and hear the students cheer for the classmates that were called up one by one to receive their certificate and their envelop.
This writing contest is sponsored by the family of the late Nina Chin. Ms Chin was a lifelong educator and believed strongly that good writers are good learners and to encourage her own students to write, she sponsored every year a writing contest from her money. Her family loved this tradition that they chose to continue it in her memory and every year one or two New Rochelle schools are chosen to become recipients of this award. Anna Giordano, from We Future Cycle, the organization that is hired by the New Rochelle school district to bring sustainability programs and education to all 11.500 students is the administer of this award and is always delighted to help schools run this exciting contest.
This year, the essays all centered around the garbage in the oceans and the students all realized that everything they did mattered!
Here are some excerpts of the main points by the winners.
Mariah Valencia has done extensive research into plastics going into the oceans and how they never bio degrade but only brake into smaller plastic pieces until they are micro plastics and she ends with a plea to think before you buy.
Gaby Sanchez pledges to share her knowledge about the need to clean up with others, she will encourage others to be clean, to not throw garbage around so they understand that the world needs to be clean again.
Mateo Rojas shares that he always picks up trash when he sees it because he knows that animals die when they eat plastics. He thinks far in the future, realizing that we only have one world and that we must think about our actions in terms of how it affects our planet long term.
Zaire Spencer explains how sorting in the lunchroom is a big step of making the world a better place and shares about personal plans to create machines that will pick up plastics and make plastics back into fuel to use in cars. Great ideas!
Samin Ashrafi has a beautiful coverpage with a picture of the world and a thermometer in its mouth, showing how our world is being made sick by all the garbage. Samin shows that the motto “everything I do matters” really goes to the heart of doing the RIGHT thing.
Katherine Kann discusses in depth how pollution and garbage causes health problems to not just animals but also to people. She did extensive research and has interesting examples of rivers in India. And then she asks the reader what can be done about the problem and points out that what Trinity students do every day in the lunchroom is the basic solution to the worlds garbage problem. She ends with the powerful call to action. Be Part Of The Solution!
Ricardo Mendoza lays out the problem in a very visual way by outlining that our actions of putting materials in the garbage can, leads often to that garbage ending up in the oceans harming wild life. He then lays out ideas of upcycling materials by making creative new products out of bottlecaps. He lays out solution by organizing clean ups and how to create less garbage.
Kristina Sacarello is looking back to the time when Trinity students were not sorting in the lunchroom, and realizes that schools can lead the way and help our Earth little by little. She pledges for all people to come together and not throw wrappers or cans out of the window anymore. She ends by forecasting a dire future of our one planet if we don’t save it.
David George writes about hands on solution. He says we can help make the world healthy again by taking all the trash out of the oceans and sorting our land waste. He goes beyond garbage by pointing out that our energy uses and water uses are important too and suggests that people close the faucet when they don’t need water and that they don’t leave the lights on . And he talks extensively about personal choices that affect garbage by what we buy, what we use and how we dispose of it.
Kamryn Tung goes into details on how personal choices make a big difference. He cites how Trinity student divert everyday 97% of their trash by simply sorting it and he points out that being vocal and spreading the word about how these simple every day activities make a real difference is where the power of change lies.
Lincey Basile goes in detail of her personal deeds to save the world., She takes short showers to save water and energy, she spreads the word about how important recycling is, she picks up trash, recycles at school every day and stop using single use things, rather use a real metal fork and wash it. She ends up by underlining that many little changes make a big change. Way to go.
Lennon Dascal starts out by engaging the reader with the simple question. “does my little straw hurt anybody? It won’t make a difference. And then he explains how everything matters because it is never just one little straw, it is always many many many straws., He describes that in his house only reusables are used as it is so important to reuse rather then to throw plastics away that will never go away. Because there is no “away” on this Earth. Wise words
Kelis Gardner offers many examples of what to reusable options we have that will not result in trash. She lists examples on how to be green inside and outside of school by picking up garbage and sorting correctly and she explains in detail the horrible effects that plastics in our oceans have on wild life. She ends with a call to action :DO NOT USE PLASTIC ANYMORE.
Andrea Storvig Newson describes how she and her friend went to a picnic in the park and suddenly realized just how much trash was around and that made them spring into action to clean up. Feeling good about ones good deeds is the basis to repeat good deeds and that is what she pledge will do. Andrea also shared a story of finding a bird in the bush that was all entangled in a fishing line. She brought the animal to the vet and it was saved, but she underlines that even though this bird was lucky to get saved many others are not that lucky and that is why we have to tackle pollution.
Michelle Zheng stats facts about how much trash is being produced per person and how it multiplies through the population to astronomical amounts. Michelle realizes she has the power to teach and influence others to make changes through small adjustments. Because reducing by reusing, recycling is not hard to do. Yes, students like Michelle have tremendous power to influence others to do the right thing.