￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼The students arrived at Upham School on foot or by bike, parents and pets in tow, more than 600 times last week. They donated 180-plus pairs of gently worn shoes and enjoyed over 300 litterless lunches, cutting the custodian’s post-lunch trips to the dumpster in half.
The third annual Green Week at Upham was celebrated last week not with grand gestures but with small daily efforts.
It’s the little things, though, that add up – and sometimes, the students have learned, they can lead to some big recognition.
Upham’s culture of green practices was honored last month at the State House in Boston, when the school earned a Green Difference Award from Project Green Schools. Last year, Upham became the first in Wellesley to get every classroom “green certified” by Wellesley Green Schools, which means the students and teachers are doing little things daily to be environmentally friendly. No effort is considered too small, such as:
• Using both sides of the paper
• Encouraging recycling
• Creating and posting guidelines for conserving water
• Use fewer lights and turning them off when leaving the room
• Incorporating eco-friendly books into the classroom
• Assigning classroom “green ambassadors” to help with sustainability
The effort to get Upham’s classrooms green certified was led by parent volunteers Sarah Bua, Jessica Stanton and Bettina Eikeboom, with support from teachers, staff and then-interim principal Elaine Harold. Representatives from Wellesley Green Schools nominated Upham for the statewide Green Difference Award.
At the State House, Upham was awarded third place in the “Commitment to Environmental Education” category, earning praise from such notable figures as Boston city councilor John Connolly and state Rep. Alice Peisch.
Upham’s commitment has continued this year, with first-year principal Jeff Dees saying that the school plans to expand its green practices.
Building a sense of community at Upham is one of Dees’ main goals. He said he has found that focusing on sustainability and green practices has been a great way to boost school spirit and make the students feel good about themselves.
Making it fun doesn’t hurt.
The school celebrated its big award during a Green Week assembly on Friday with what one parent quipped to Dees was a “combination pep rally and recognition for a school wide effort.”
￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼The school’s student “house band” (Screaming Sushi) and dance group Shimmer performed. A dozen students who brought in litterless lunches all week won gift certificates to the Linden Store and Truly Yogurt in a raffle. Dees unveiled the school’s Green Difference Award, gave a shout-out to the parents and teachers who helped pull it together, and then praised the students for their efforts – both then and now.
“Everyone worked so hard during the week to contribute,” Dees said. “I think the adults (including teachers) had more fun than the students. We are building something special.”
Big thanks to Guest Writer, Sharon Gray
Photo by Quentin Prideaux, Wellesley Green Schools
Representatives from Upham School were honored with a Green Difference Award from Project Green Schools at the State House in April.
Left to right: Principal Jeff Dees, parent volunteer Jessica Stanton, student Elsie Stanton, unidenitifed Green Schools volunteer, student Cecily Bua, teacher Carolyn Collins, state Rep. Alice Peisch