Young Audiences New Jersey & Eastern Pennsylvania announced four winning schools in the NRG Energy Creatively Green Award competition, sponsored by Princeton-based energy company NRG Energy, Inc.
Each winning school will host its own NRG Creatively Green Family Arts Festival, worth up to $10,000. The two- to three-hour family arts festivals will consist of a dynamic performance by a Young Audiences artist focusing on the importance of protecting our environment, several hands-on art-making workshops that promote environmental sustainability led by Young Audiences’ professional teaching artists and a community art project to be played, displayed or shared during the event.
“We received many compelling applications from schools across New Jersey and Eastern Pennsylvania each demonstrating exciting “green” initiatives and programs,” said program coordinator Jacqueline Knox of Young Audiences. “It was really encouraging for us to see so much interest in bringing sustainable education to students and families.”
Out of 16 New Jersey and Eastern Pennsylvania schools that applied, the four winning schools are:
- Bayville School – This Bayville, NJ school, which is the oldest public building in their district, was financially and emotionally impacted by Sandy storm damage, causing them to cancel many free family events they had previously been able to host. Principal Mary Guinan said, “The amazing phenomenon is…our school family finds a way to teach and enrich students and works tirelessly, hand-in-hand to give our families the best that we can.”
- Christa McAuliffe School PS #28 (CMS) – This inner-city school serving 1,017 diverse students is located in Jersey City, NJ. CMS has a “Green Team” comprised of students and staff that coordinate many eco-friendly activities and outreach programs including, recycling programs, neighborhood clean-ups and “Project Reservoir”, a nationally recognized and award-winning, multi-year, multi-disciplinary sustainable living project for their middle school students. Principal Dr. Jane Elder wrote in her school’s application that, “a Creatively Green Family Arts Festival would give us the chance to not only expose our students and families to the arts, but also reinforce our schools involvement in environmentally friendly activities and projects.”
- Cook-Wissahickon Elementary School – In line with current efforts by Philadelphia, PA schools to “go green,” the Home and School Association of Cook-Wissahickon Elementary School started a Green Committee that started a recycling program that newly labeled their school as an official “Green Ribbon School.” Cook-Wissahickon’s Green Committee, known as the Wissahickon Sustainability Council (WSC), is helping transform the school and grounds into an environmentally friendly and more sustainable campus. Principal Karen Thomas stated, “We, as a school, use what we have, we share, we help where we can, we take turns and we ask for the support of our local community businesses to aid us when we need help.”
- Environment Community Opportunity (ECO) Charter School – Camden, NJ-based ECO Charter School hosted a popular Earth Day Event and recently launched a new course where students learn about the environment, sustainability and gardening. Every ECO student also performed in “Green, The Musical” that taught the audience about recycling through acting, dancing and singing. Lead Person/Founder & Head Dr. Antoinette C. Dendtler said, “Our students are the children of Camden – we work to ensure they grow to become adept learners, community leaders and environmental stewards. The theme of this festival perfectly aligns with our mission and vision.”