EASTCHESTER, N.Y. – Anne Hutchinson Elementary School, which has long stressed the importance of sustainability to students in Eastchester, has been chosen as a U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School.
The Green Ribbon Schools program is a voluntary one that celebrates schools that are active in the “three pillars” of sustainability: reducing environmental impact, improving the health and wellness of students and staff, and concentrating on environmental education.
Anne Hutchinson was the only school in the state to be nominated by state Education Commissioner John B. King Jr., and is one of just 48 schools in the country to be honored by the department, which began the program in 2011.
Principal Theresa Cherry praised the students and staff members that have been instrumental in helping the school become a model for sustainability education.
“I am grateful to the students and staff for working together to produce a sustainable and healthy school environment, ensuring the environmental literacy of all our graduates. It truly takes a village,” she said.
Teacher Dave O’Neil – who received an Earth Day award from the county and was named one of the top recyclers in Westchester – has been at the forefront of sustainability education for Anne Hutchinson.
Among other initiatives, under O’Neil has cultivated a sustainability garden that had become a tool in the classroom and introduced a recycling and compost program that cut their lunchtime waste from eight large bags to just half a bag each day.
Students were excited about earning the recognition over 100,000 other applicants.
“It feels phenomenal to win the Green Ribbon Award because we’ve been working so hard with Terracycle, recycling and the garden,” fifth grader Daniella Schneider said.
Anne Hutchinson officials will travel to Washington, D.C. for a ceremony honoring the 48 Green Ribbon schools.
“The recognition is a testament to the ongoing efforts of this school community,” Schools Superintendent Walter Moran said. “Anne Hutchinson students and faculty have exhibited leadership, foresight and a passion in promoting a healthy and sustainable school environment. To be the only school in the state nominated for this national recognition is quite extraordinary.”