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With trash accumulating at lunch, Stephanie Li (12) is monitoring the compost, trash, and bottles bin and directing Jaspreet Mann (11) on the proper trash can to dispose her wrapper. There are multiple trash cans set up around campus, including one for compost, landfill trash, and recycling. (Picture by Vrunda Shah)

New changes occurring at American High School

Devon San Nicolas

Staff Writer

    American High School is working on a project to bring new environmental changes to the school over the course of the year. With new improvements in the lunch menu along with a clean up policy, students are encouraged to gain social responsibility for their environment.

    “It’s an involved process that is getting more involved every year,” Chef Jacqueline Rosen said. “We are trying to promote a unity through bringing everybody to the table. The people that go to school here are bright, and I think that they need to demonstrate that not just in their studies.”

    Staff at American are making an effort to keep the school clean. This way students are able to be in a sanitary environment and continue keeping the campus clean.

    “My interest is more about keeping things cleaner,” Principal Steven Musto said. “We are trying to build better habits [that need to be implemented] on a daily basis. We’ve got a real trash problem and having students pay more attention to it is a great way to improve our school.”

         With the project still in its early stages, there has been difficulty in conveying the message.

    “The biggest difficulty is our limited capacity,” Spanish teacher, Julio Navarrete said. “In order for meaningful and long-term change to happen, it takes countless one-on-one conversations with students and faculty about the importance of this issue and how to work on changing our behavior. This needs to be an ongoing discussion in which we all participate.”

    While its staff who are pushing more towards stopping this issue, many students have also realized how ubiquitous the trash problem is and what needs to be done for change to happen.

    “In all honesty, there is not much we can do about it for fast change to happen,” Eric Hsu (12) said. “People have to change themselves and the people who are not throwing their stuff away will most likely not stop even if we ask them nicely. I think if there were penalties involved there could be a potential change.”

    In addition to the efforts in keeping the school clean, there has been an improvement in the school’s lunch diet.

    “We have some new food items,” Child Nutrition Manager, Matteo A. Leon-Valencia said. “I know in the past a lot of the food wasn’t tasteful, so we are trying new ingredients, fresher items, and preparing them differently so that way it’s a better product by the time students come in for lunch. I’m getting feedback that they are liking the new changes, so, I’m still working on implementing new items and hopefully by next school year there will be a better menu for everyone.”

    The project introduced is a stepping stone for creating a stable environment here at American High School.

    “In the future, we want a school where students reduce their waste and we have a spotless campus that people are proud to attend,” AP Environmental Science teacher, Kyra Wheaton said.

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