Steamboat Springs Four active and motivated Strawberry Park Elementary School students believe their school can be a community leader in environmentally-friendly initiatives, so much so, they delivered a presentation to the Steamboat Springs School Board on April 2 outlining their vision for their school - and town.
Strawberry Park Student Council President Peter White, vice president Kelly Borgerding, secretary Kestral Johnston and treasurer Grant Verploeg read letters from other Strawberry Park students passionate about making changes in Steamboat Springs School District schools that would positively benefit the environment.
"They are trying to educate a whole new generation of kids," said Strawberry Park Student Council sponsor Sherry Holland.
The list of goals the students have is long, but they have prioritized their wants. Peter said he knows previous student councils have tried to get the district to change its environmental policies without success, but that won't stop him and his classmates.
"We really want to get better lunch trays," Kelly said. "We want to get something recyclable."
Currently, the district uses Styrofoam trays that are thrown away after each use. They are cheaper than plastic reusable trays. The students have researched prices and have done hours of background work on what the district would have to do to change lunch trays, but the increased cost to the district is something the students believe benefits everyone.
"Even though the cost will be five or seven cents more, I think it will probably be worth it," Peter said.
Grant said the students hope the district can make changes this year. If not, they hope the district will consider making changes before next year.
"They have shown leadership that exemplifies how well Student Council can be when officers take the lead," Holland said.
Strawberry Park's Student Council has been active in getting the students and teachers to recycle plastic and paper, and the elected leaders have been so successful, they are looking for someone in the community to give them a larger recycling bin for the school, Kestral said.
"We got a new bin this year, but that fills up too fast, which is a good thing," she added.
The students also would like to see the school district use more environmentally friendly cleaning products in the school, which is an idea spearheaded by the Strawberry Park Parent-Teacher Information Committee.
Both the Strawberry Park PTIC and Student Council gave a presentation to the School Board on April 2, and the Student Council members believe the PTIC may help them get the district to change its policies.
"They have been helping us," Kelly said. "We kind of have a voice now. If we succeed, maybe other Student Councils will follow us."
- To reach Melinda Mawdsley, call 871-4208 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org