By Julia Moro
PS 32 State Street School of Flushing has won a citywide clean-up contest in the elementary school division and Maspeth High School clocked in as a runner-up in the high school division.
The schools were awarded the 2018 “Team Up to Clean Up” Zero Waste Grants June 20 administered through the city Department of Sanitation and Citizens Committee for New York City. The public agency and private organization collaborated to give out these awards to deserving schools whose students design and implement effective clean-up and beautification projects, including school gardening initiatives.
Other winning schools are from Staten Island, Brooklyn and Manhattan.
“As a city and a country we’re falling short when it comes to the environment and recycling,” said Citizens Committee CEO Peter Kostmayer. “My generation has let us down, so now we’re looking to a new generation to lead us in the right direction… the generation in school today and it is that generation that we recognize here this afternoon, young New Yorkers in school today and out in the world tomorrow. We’re counting on you.”
Schools competed within their elementary, intermediate or high school grade divisions for citywide honors by implementing hands-on learning projects. Citywide winners are awarded $1,000 and runners-up are given $500.
Applicants were judged based on whether the project improved the school and/or community through cleaning and/or gardening; if the project was linked to classroom studies to support learning engagement, large student engagement; if there was evidence of support and organizing from school administration, faculty and staff; and lastly volume and quality of content posted on the Zero Waste School website.
Wing Kong, the facilitator for the project in PS 32 State Street, said, “It is the first time our school won something like this, so I am very proud of the students and plus we had incredible support from volunteers, the school teachers and staff that made it possible. It just shows the things we can achieve if we all get together onboard on something we are passionate about.”
Aaron Bell, the adviser to the Maspeth High School Green Club said Maspeth High School was honored to receive the Zero Waste Award this year and remains committed to participatory learning through student-led projects in sustainability. In addittion to the “Team Up to Clean Up” award, Maspeth High School wwas a citywide runner-up in the Materials for the Arts’ “Reuse Challenge.”
“We are really thrilled to work with Sanitation on this award campaign and we are very grateful that so many schools applied. The Queens schools are very deserving of this award,” said Saleen Shah, the director of communications and public affairs for CCNYC.
Reach reporter Julia Moro by e-mail at jmoro