GESS students make a difference

More than 300 George Elliot Secondary students chipped in to tidy the neighbourhood around their school in Lake Country.

Students from George Elliot Senior Secondary School in Lake Country took on Community Cleanup Month in a big way. More than 300 of them took part in cleaning up debris and messes found throughout their neighbourhood. They have challenged other schools in the district to do the same.

Students from George Elliot Senior Secondary School in Lake Country took on Community Cleanup Month in a big way. More than 300 of them took part in cleaning up debris and messes found throughout their neighbourhood. They have challenged other schools in the district to do the same.

For the second year in a row, more than 300 students from George Elliot Senior Secondary School in Lake Country took on Community Cleanup Month with a vengeance as they headed out of the classroom to clean up around their school and neighbourhood last week.

And this year, they issued a challenge to all students in School District 23 to do the same.

Rae Stewart with the Regional Waste Reduction Office said with about 16 classes, 320 students, and 12 teachers involved, it’s one of the largest youth mobilization efforts for Community Cleanup Month.

“These kids are inspiring,” said Stewart. “A big hats off to all of them, and their teachers, for their spirit and dedication to our environment.”

Rob Geier, a teacher at George Elliot Secondary and a District of Lake Country councillor, said students are more than willing to roll up their sleeves for a good cause.

“The students took on this project last year and were amazed at how much they could accomplish in a short period of time, collecting over 260 kilograms of garbage in a few hours,” Geier said. “Students recognize they can make a difference and their efforts do have an impact. Our student body wishes to challenge all other schools in the community to get out there too. If we all band together, imagine the difference.”

Since the District of Lake Country recently kicked off their “Imagine…Our Sustainable Lake Country” initiative, members of Municipal Council, including Coun. Geier, made challenges to inspire the local community to take action.

To make things a little more fun for the students at GESS, Geier’s challenge stated that if 50 per cent of George Elliot Secondary School students and staff took part in the Lake Country Community Cleanup during the week of April 21 to 27, then he would dye his hair green for the remainder of April.

The school principal joined in the challenge as well, indicating that he was willing to have students colour the earth onto his bald head.

Additionally, inspired by a Sustainability challenge made by Coun. Jamie McEwan, Geier and the Conservation Coyotes from GESS have registered a nine km section of the beach along Okanagan Lake in Lake Country for a May 4 clean up initiative as part of the Great Canadian Shoreline Clean Up.

As part of Community Cleanup Month which traditionally runs the whole month of April, the Regional Waste Reduction Office provides gear and supplies to any group interested in tackling a cleanup project.