Annette Junior/Senior Public School teacher Jenny Talik was surprised to learn one of her students had entered a contest that could win the school $25,000 worth of computer equipment. When she discovered Nicky Sztohrynec had won she screamed with delight along with the rest of the school.
“Pure elation,” principal Heather Wheeler called it.
Sztohrynec says she wrote the essay because she is proud of how much her school has does to help the environment.
“I hope that we can find out more about the Earth and spread the news about [Annette’s environmental activities], so others can follow our path.”
In its second year, the nationwide Staples’ Recycle for Education Computer Labs contest challenged elementary school students to write an essay explaining what their school is doing to be environmentally responsible.
Annette’s environmental activities range from using the school’s compost to fertilize the garden, which grows herbs and vegetables, to raising $3,000 to help build a well in Haiti.
Eco-Club leader and teacher Karen Goodfellow said the school will continue to try to set a green example for the neighbourhood.
“There’s a community effort in this school,” Goodfellow said. “Even the daycare has gone green — they support all of our initiatives and take care of our food garden in the summer.”
Goodfellow said she had goose bumps when she discovered Sztohrynec’s essay had won and describes Sztohrynec as a deep thinker who sees connections problems and solutions.
During the cheque presentation Sztohrynec said she was nervous to go on stage and read her essay in front of parents and students, but she was made easier by the presence of all her friends.
Staples’ representative Leigh Pearson said the key ingredient in all the winning essays was passion.
“It’s really nice to see that in the youth, because they are the ones who need to carry this torch forward,” she says. “It gives me hope that these kids can teach others to make a difference by making small changes.”
Wheeler says she plans to ask the school community to help come up with a shopping list of equipment that could help improve the school and provide technology for as many students as possible.
“It’s going to be a lot of fun to go to Staples and shop with our giant wish list and $25,000 in our pocket,” says Wheeler.
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