GLSHS Make Kindergartens “cool to be green”

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“We were green before green was cool.”   The saying rings a bell because approximately eighty senior high students were witnessed wearing the slogan across their t-shirts. 

This year’s Earth Day was especially exciting.  On April 22nd and 23rd, local kindergarteners were welcomed to Rotary Park by the “big kid” high school students.  Once the children arrived, they were assisted in planting a tree for their class to always remember.  Baggaley and Mountain View Elementary planted a Service Berry tree, while Latrobe Elementary planted a Swamp White Oak.  After the older students dug the hole and set up the tree, all were delighted in watching the young ones use  miniature shovels to place the dirt on their very own tree.

After the celebratory planting of the trees, kindergarteners were instructed to find their group leaders.  The idea was to place the younger ones into colored groups to be instructed by the high school team leaders of that same color.  The multicolored groups would then be led to one of three stations: a recycling relay, a handprint mural painting station, and a paper bag decorating station. 

The recycling relay station, organized by Renee Conte, Jessica Saenz, and Ennis, taught the young ones what recycling is and how the renewable items are sorted through a game.  The students each brought recyclable items consisting of paper, plastic, and cardboard.  They would then sort their items in the correct recyclable categories.  Through a number of races, the kindergarteners learned what to recycle, how to do it, and who can help.

Taking charge of the mural painting station were Laurel Frye, Amelea King, Kayla Golden, and Acacia Macey.  One by one, the children’s individual painted handprints formed together to issue a powerful message.  A globe of interlaced fingers accompanied by the words, “the earth is in our hands” will be on display for all those at the home elementary schools to enjoy.

Finally, students moved on to a third station, managed by Becky Onusko.  Paper bags were borrowed from local grocery stores for the students’ learning experience.  The kindergarteners were then instructed to draw messages and pictures on the bags in support of recycling.  In effect, when the bags are returned to their original stores, those who answer “paper” to their bagboy will be reminded to recycle their grocery bags by the kindergarteners’ illustrations.

“Everything turned out very successful,” commented Ms. Sarah Boice, the Baggaley kindergarten teacher whose idea started it all.  With the aid of Mrs. Jessica Golden, director of the Center for Student Creativity and Development, the Rotary Club of Latrobe, Greater Latrobe Senior High school teacher Mrs. Carole Wright, and the helpful teachers of Baggaley, Latrobe, and Mountain View Elementary schools, Boice was able to make the entire Earth Day Celebration possible.  Boice reflected, “I was extremely pleased by the cooperation between the kindergarteners and the high school students.  All parties had benefitted by working together, and the high school students were great role models.”

All those involved were affiliated with Wright’s science classes.  Approximately eighty high school Earth and the Environment students and twenty junior high Life Science students were involved to make the experience something to remember for the estimated three hundred kindergarteners present.  Mrs. Wright recalls being “blown away by the relationships between the kindergarteners and the high school students.”  She also said, “The whole experience went way beyond my expectations.  This will no doubt become an annual permanent fixture for these kids to appreciate.”

The celebratory days reserved for Earth Day could not have turned out better.  Everyone involved was elated to be part of the experience.  Renee Conte, a member of the organizational committee, said that “it was well worth all of the work in order to help the community alongside these kids.  We all took part in teaching this generation’s youth how to save our planet.  Plus, it was tons of fun!”  No doubt, the success of the Kindergarten Earth Day will be repeated every annual, providing the young students with an environmental experience that will last a lifetime.