A nationwide search for the greenest grade school in America has narrowed it down to 10 finalists, and Asheville’s Evergreen Community Charter School is one of them. Some 3,000 elementary schools across the country competed to win the “Go Green with all™” (sponsored by all™ laundry detergent) contest, and each finalist was granted $5,000. The K-8 school, which places an emphasis on environmental education, employs a number of green initiatives including biodiesel-powered buses, rooftop solar panels and an organic garden and composting system.
Asheville Mayor Terry Bellamy, accompanied by City Council members Robin Cape and Carl Mumpower, offered words of encouragement to the students during a Jan. 11 ceremony at the school.
“Thank you so very much, and we’re going to keep watching until you maybe go all the way to the top,” said Cape, speaking directly to the kids. The grand prize for this competition is a $50,000 award to be put toward green improvements, plus iPod shuffle MP3 players with solar chargers for every student.
The kids, many of whom wore bright smiles and cheered throughout the presentation, exhibited obvious enthusiasm for the environment. In a letter the school plans to send to presidential candidates, read aloud by student council during the ceremony, each grade’s hopes for the future were listed.
Kindergarteners asked for an end to the war, the second grade wanted better protection for endangered species, and seventh graders asked for an end to U.S. dependence on foreign oil. Perhaps the most direct hint to future world leaders came from Evergreen’s eighth-grade class. “Find out what regular people like us are thinking,” they wrote. “Not just corporations.”
— Rebecca Bowe, contributing editor