Budde, Gerard are first recipients of the North Trail Elementary Environmental Leadership AwardFor his last birthday, North Trail Elementary School fifth grader Noah Budde asked for a yard waste cart. It turns out, that request got him $100, too. Budde and fifth grade student Moira Gerard were named the first two recipients of the NTES Environmental Award last week.
By: Michelle Leonard, The Farmington Independent
For his last birthday, North Trail Elementary School fifth grader Noah Budde asked for a yard waste cart. It turns out, that request got him $100, too.
Budde and fifth grade student Moira Gerard were named the first two recipients of the NTES Environmental Award last week. They each received $100 to go toward a savings bond for their futures.
The Environmental Leadership Award is a new award that will be presented annually by the NTES Parent Teacher Partnership. It’s a memorial of sorts to David Geis, brother of principal Dr. Steven Geis. David Geis passed away during the past school year.
The award is a tribute to David Geis, PTP president Traci Cywinski said, because he was active in forestry, conservation, crop planting and many other activities that benefitted the environment.
“He took the time to take care of the things around him,” she said. “You knew he was making a difference.”
David had done his part to teach many North Trail students over the years, too, as groups of students would head to the Geis family farm in southern Minnesota to study buffalo, agriculture and history. When he died, Cywinski wanted to do something for the Geis family, but also to encourage students to carry on the ideas and principles David Geis believed in.
She came up with the idea of the Environmental Award, and ran it past other parents. They liked the idea.
“It came from a place of grief, but you can only stay in that place for so long. Then it went to a place of action and we came up with this award,” Cywinski said.
In order to qualify for the award, fifth grade students have to write an essay about what being environmentally conscious means to them. They are asked to relate to personal experiences, and to share what they do to recycle or otherwise care for the environment.
Since it was a new award, it was nearing the end of the school year, and students had to write the essays on their own time, Cywinski wasn’t sure if many students would participate. She was pleasantly surprised, though, when she received 23 essays.
Reading the essays was a lot of fun, she said, and the winners rose to the top easily.
“For (Noah’s) birthday, he wanted a yard waste cart,” Cywinski said. “I’m not kidding you. I had to call his teacher to ask if it was for real.”
The first awards were given out June 6, during a special lunch held to say goodbye to the fifth graders before they head to middle school. Working with that transition between elementary and middle school was part of Cywinski’s plan.
“It was a change for Dr. Geis’ family when David died, and it’s a change to go from elementary school to high school,” she said. “The thought with donating to savings bonds is that in 10 years, when they go to college, it’s another change in their lives.”
Gerard and Budde’s names were printed on a new plaque that will be posted near the main doors of North Trail Elementary. The PTP plans to continue the Environmental Leadership Award for the future, Cywinski said. Winners each year will be added to the plaque.