Christ the King Catholic School in Jacksonville is one of 40 schools across the country to win the U.S. Department of Education’s Green Ribbon Award.
The award recognizes schools that reduce their environmental footprint, improve the health and wellbeing of students, and provide high quality education in sustainability.
“In order for us to be recognized by the Ministry of Education at the national level – usually large school districts with a lot of financial support win the award – this is just proof that even small places with a can-do attitude can succeed in helping children with their To give our best and to appreciate what God has created, and that is what our school is all about, ”said Stephanie Engelhardt, director of Christ the King.
Christ the King’s initiatives include working with St. John’s Riverkeeper to test water quality. Raising chickens and growing gardens; and the use of plastic water bottles is no longer necessary.
“One of our projects was to reduce the amount of plastic in our oceans on waterways because our school is right on Strawberry Creek here in Arlington,” said Stephanie Gagnon, STEM instructor. “So the student did a lot of research, background information and pricing, and we ended up getting all of the refillable water fountains on campus. In this first year we were able to save around 15,000 plastic bottles from our campus. ”
Students collect food waste for composting and collect rain to irrigate the gardens. The school has also implemented solar panels, LED lighting, and programmable thermostats to reduce electricity bills.
The K-bis-8 Private School in the Arlington neighborhood is the only Catholic school and the only school in Florida to win the prestigious Green Ribbon Award. Christ the King is a Title I school and serves 280 students, 57% of whom are on a tax credit scholarship and 35% are minority students.
“Everyone here has an equal chance of success and that hands-on experience because you never know where your passion will be,” said Gagnon.
“We believe if we give them enough of these great experiences, they will find something that will make them do something really cool with their life, something they are passionate about.”
Contact Sydney Boles at [email protected] or on Twitter at @sydneyboles.