Green class entered in contest for recycling program


Natalie O'Dell

Seventh grader Aelilian Ceron'-Reyes dumps waste from a classroom recycling bin into the main recycling can.

Natalie O'Dell, Business Manager

The middle school’s green class is among the fifty-nine St. Louis schools entered to win prizes worth up to $600 dollars for their work on bringing recycling to their school through Green Schools quest, a challenge from the Missouri Gateway Chapter of the US Green Building Council. Participants were presented the challenge of creating a plan to increase sustainability in their school, and the participants’ work was evaluated on the merits of creativity and affordability. GCAA’s students focused on introducing a recycling program.

Middle School Science teacher Cassandra Lentz, who teaches the green class, intentionally didn’t emphasize the competition aspect of the challenge, redirecting focus on the work itself.  Although she believes the approach was effective, it didn’t leave much time to focus on completing the 1-2 page report, visual data representations, and a video. The class worked with their mentor, Elizabeth Sebetta, to finish it in time for the March 10th deadline.  

“The kids just really came together trying to get it done, and they did a fantastic job,” said Lentz.

Having recycled over forty thousands liters of waste over the past year, Lentz believes that the changes made by the class’ recycling efforts are more important than the prizes they might win.  

“They’ve done such a great job. I think in some ways, as cliche as it is, we have won,” she said.