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Centre Elementary School celebrates Going Green

Staff writer

Friday was a big day at Centre Elementary School as students and staff celebrated the school’s recognition as Green School of the Year in Kansas.

The celebration may have been the last major event at CES because the kindergarten through fourth-grade students will be transferred to the Centre High School site this fall.

It was obvious that students, teachers, and staff went all out to provide a party atmosphere for the occasion. Colorful backdrops on the gym stage, artwork on gym walls, and several decorated tables created an inviting appearance.

Special guests included Kansas Secretary of Agriculture Josh Svaty, John Mitchell of Kansas Department of Health and Environment, and Shari Wilson of the Kansas Association of Conservation and Environmental Education.

Students wore special caps and green T-shirts with the slogan, “Go Green.”

Principal-Superintendent Jerri Kemble recognized the six 9-year-old girls who initiated the environmental effort. They are Rebecca Casey, Grace Peterson, Claiborn Schmidt, Rylee Brown, Meghan David, and Ashley Spohn.

Austin Ebaben received a certificate for designing a special pin for students to wear on their caps. Winners of a coloring contest were kindergartner Reanna Brown, first-grader Kara Riffel, second-grader Emma David, third-grader Haley Steele-Meyer, and fourth-grader Rosie Holub.

In his address to students, Svaty said he receives hundreds of invitations for speaking engagements and chose to attend the CES celebration because of the creative invitation he received. It was packaged in a plastic water bottle with a small bottle of bubbles and created quite a stir in his office.

“You know how to get the attention of other people,” he said.

Svaty told students agriculture production is important because “it is what we eat.”

“It requires we don’t waste and don’t damage our soil and water,” he said. “You figured out how to do it.”

Jean Brunner, a teacher dressed as Mother Nature, led students in singing “Recycle Rap” and “It’s Easy Being Green.”

Wilson presented the Green School of the Year Award to Kemble, along with a large banner declaring CES a Green School.

Kirk Cusick, the master gardener who oversees the school garden, gave a slide presentation of students at work in the garden.

After students sang, “Make This World a Better Place,” special guests visited several stations where students enthusiastically displayed their environmental projects. These included the school garden, recycling center, character education display, and the worm farm.

The day concluded with everyone eating healthy refreshments including some items from the school garden.

Kemble said she was impressed by the number of people who came from Topeka and stayed almost all afternoon.

“The biggest piece is that this was student driven,” she said. “They are helping adults learn. It was a very memorable occasion.”

Last modified May 5, 2010

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