Three students from Taylor Elementary School have been declared the Junior Division Grand Champions of the Community Problem Solving Competition hosted by the Texas Future Problem Solving Program.
Third grader Christina Quintana, fifth grader Noah Quintana and fourth grader Brock Simpson were concerned with the amount of waste that food produces. After extensive research, they formulated a plan to begin composting some of the food waste at their school. They met with campus and District leaders to gain the necessary approvals to begin composting on campus.
Their first project was composting fruits and vegetables from the Taylor cafeteria and several neighboring campuses that went bad as a result of February’s winter storm and power outages. They unpackaged and composted 136 pounds of food.
“My favorite part about the composting initiative on our campus is that it is 100% student-driven,” said Taylor Principal Christy Garza. “The team has worked collaboratively with everyone from the campus recycling coordinator and café manager to the City of Plano to make sure they are considering the benefits of composting and how to make this a long-term initiative for the campus.
“At Taylor, we emphasize a culture of making the most of the resources we have, while not being wasteful and these students are building a legacy that shows this mindset in action.”
The group is leading a composting program at Taylor which will kick off on Earth Day in April. The District has provided a compost tumbler, and the students constructed a wood stationary compost that resides outside near the cafeteria. The students are excited about the amount of waste that they will divert from the landfill and the opportunity for others to learn about composting.
“I am so impressed with the professionalism of the Taylor ‘Food Waste Champs’ composting group,” said Seth Williams, FISD environmental programs facilitator. “They join several other campuses that are currently composting and have already inspired others to begin this journey!”
Principal Garza hopes that eventually the compost will feed a campus garden, but in the meantime, composted soil will help maintain their flower gardens at the entrance to the campus.
The “Food Waste Champs” team is going on to represent Texas at the 2021 Future Problem Solving International Conference in April. Watch a presentation about their commitment to eliminating food waste.