During his time at Whitney High School in Cerritos, California, Kyle became involved with Grades of Green through the Ecology and Wildlife Club at his school. In his initial year with Grades of Green, he took part in the RISE Climate Solutions Campaign, collaborating with Tree Plenish to replenish the paper used at the school through a community tree sale. Despite the global pandemic, Kyle and his team successfully sold 120 apple trees in an online sale.

Following the success of the tree sale, Kyle progressed within the club and assumed the role of director during his junior year. As director, he partnered with Grades of Green to tackle plastic waste on campus, specifically focusing on reducing the use of plastic-wrapped utensils. Through his efforts, his project raised funds to introduce compostable utensils in the school cafeteria. Kyle’s initiative extended beyond his school; he took the campaign district-wide, rallying support from both faculty and students through a petition. “Seeing people use compostable utensils at our schools is incredibly fulfilling,” Kyle remarked.

Despite graduating from Whitney High School in 2023, Kyle aimed to ensure his campaign’s legacy. Evelyn, his successor in the Ecology and Wildlife Club, has continued to expand the project, now including replacing plastic-wrapped napkins with napkin dispensers. “Encouraging younger students to take charge of their own initiatives is key,” Kyle emphasizes.

Post-graduation, Kyle plans to attend UCLA to delve into the intersection of environmental science and public health.

What does sustainability mean to you?

Sustainability is a mindset or perspective. It’s a combination of taking action and realizing that everything you do has an effect on the environment and the people around you. Whether it’s dropping a piece of trash on the floor, the food you are eating, the house you are building, everything has an environment. Sustainability is being engaged and taking action to combat that.

What has been your favorite memory of Grades of Green?

Last year, leading the Grades of Green campaign and bringing such an ambitious project to our school is my favorite memory, even though there were so many challenges. With guidance from our advisor, Mrs. Perry, and everyone from Grades of Green, I was able to break out of my shell and develop leadership qualities I never would have imagined developing before. It showed me how resilient and determined I was. It also showed me the power of students to make an impact on our community.

For those who are new to Grades of Green, what would be one piece of advice you would give them?

Take advantage of all the resources Grades of Green has. They have a wealth of resources and experts from all sorts of fields. Whenever I reached out to Grades of Green, they offered guest speakers, volunteering or internship opportunities, and interviews. Don’t be afraid to reach out. Take advantage of everything they have to offer because really, that’s their goal: to inspire action and help students explore the environment.