We’re so excited to share with you the winners of our 2019 Water Campaign! These amazing student teams worked so hard on behalf of their environment and their communities.
Grand Prize Eco-Grant Winner – $1,000
Fisher Middle School – Los Gatos, California
The Fisher Green Team was able to accomplish its goals, and then some! Not only did they convince their classmates to reduce the use of single-use plastics, but they also got their school’s leadership to:
• Stop selling single-use plastic water bottles!
• Switch to reusable aluminum bottles
• Eliminate sales of Capri Sun, due to the attached straw and single-use container
• Support the new use of all compostable and sustainable serving trays in the cafeteria
• Switch from single-use plastic water bottle sales at after school events, to cardboard cartons of water
• Allow the Green Team to plan and implement new trash sorting stations campus-wide to help make sure their recyclables can be recycled
How did the Fisher team do all this? They put together a powerful campus-wide advocacy campaign to convince their fellow students, their administrators, and their school’s community to support their green initiatives.
Student Leadership Award
Beatrice O. at Whitney High School – Cerritos, California
Beatrice has always gone above and beyond to help her fellow students take environmental action! Here are just a few of the qualities that her Grades of Green Advisor, Cathy, shared with us: she has great organizational and planning skills, she’s very responsive, very sophisticated and exhibits the most excellent leadership! Congratulations to Beatrice for not only receiving this award but also for leading her team to a third season in the finals.
Help us to Provide Next Campaign’s Eco-Grants
We need your help to continue to provide these transformative Eco-Grants to our students. These grants encourage students to complete their projects, and are one of the most powerful ways for us to expand our students’ impact!
Best Community Changemaker – $500
Mary Bragg Elementary School – Cerritos, California
We knew we had a very special team on our hands when the elementary students from Mary Bragg called out their school board for using single-use plastic bottles while the team pitched to them their plastic-reduction plan. These young students changed how their school community approached single-use plastics and convinced their school to reduce single-use plastics on campus and do a better job of recycling.
Runner Up: El Rancho Charter School – Anaheim, California
Best Innovative Idea – $500
Irvine SEVA Group – Irvine, California
The SEVA Group found a plastic problem that many green-leaning people overlook: plastic produce bags in the grocery store, which can easily be replaced with reusable versions. They met with their PTA and other members of their school community to convince them to go reusable and also did something unique! The SEVA group got their own reusable produce bags and went to a local store to hand them out and raise awareness of the issue. They’re currently in the middle of setting up another give-away event at another local grocery.
Runner Up: Magruder Middle School – Torrance, California
Best Impact by an Elementary School – $500
Seven Generations Charter School – Emmaus, Pennsylvania
These fourth graders worked hard to reduce the amount of single-use plastic, especially sandwich baggies, packed in their school’s lunches. They wanted to educate people in their school and community in an entertaining way, so they went above and beyond to make an extra “Family Feud” themed video to share their project. They also worked to provide easy access to sustainable alternatives to sandwich baggies by coming up with a proposal to the PTO to sell school-branded reusable snack pouches.
Runner Up: Innovation Academy – Oro Valley, Arizona
Best Grades of Green Alumni Team – $500
Airbender Team at Hughes Middle School – Long Beach, California
The Hughes Airbenders have been working with Grades of Green for a few years, and we’ve always been very impressed with their work. This year, their team did an excellent job of picking a specific target audience for their advocacy campaign. Their school’s physical education department had been a major place where students were using single-use plastic bottles. Among other tactics, they set up a competition to encourage students, coaches and teachers to use fewer plastic bottles and the change stuck!
Runner Up: Nathaniel Hawthorne Middle School – Bayside, New York
International Changemaker Award – $500
The Parallel Projects
We developed this new award as a means to recognize the teams that work to tackle the unique environmental challenges facing communities across the globe. For the Water Campaign, we wanted to specifically feature those who struggle with plastic pollution and access to clean water. The inaugural awardee was obvious: the Parallel Projects which is a collaboration between Justin S. and his mom, Sheri, and all of their friends in Africa – Perise, Maulid, Hudu, Rashid and others.
Most Impactful Adult Supporter
Will Rogers Middle School – Long Beach, California
Pam is a superstar! In addition to being an incredible educator, she’s dedicated to the environment and making sure her students develop powerful leadership skills. She makes sure that every semester her students have numerous opportunities to advocate for environmental change, both on campus and in the larger community.