Bowsher High student Corves Adgar didn't speak long, but his message launched a new era at Toledo Public Schools.

"We are proud to be part of the Green Team and for being responsible for collecting the school's recycling," Corves told an assembled group of reporters and others during a news conference held at the high school on the eve of the 45th annual Earth Day.

He was referring to being part of a team of students who are responsible for collecting the recycling at Bowsher. The news conference was held to officially announce an exciting partnership between Toledo Public Schools and the University of Toledo in which Green Teams at each of the district's building collect as much recyclable material as possible in blue bins - clearly marked 'plastic' and 'paper.' Representatives from UT then collect the material that is the recycled into other products.

March had been declared TPS Proud Goes Green Month and a number of activities were held, including a t-shirt design contest that was won at the high school level by Matthew Griffith, a 10th grader at Start High, and at the elementary school level by Triston Acevedo, a 6th grader at Birmingham Elementary. Their designs will grace the t-shirts of the district's Green Team volunteers.

To celebrate Earth Day, the district held a contest to see which school could collect the most recyclable items. At the time of the news conference on Tuesday, April 22, more than 42,000 pounds of recyclables had been collected in the first few weeks of the contest. The students at Bowsher had collected 4,124 pounds of recyclable items. The Green Team at Larchmont Elementary had collected nearly 3,000 pounds - or just over six pounds per student. 

Particularly happy to be at the news conference were three Board of Education members - Vice President Chris Varwig, Lisa Sobiecki and Polly Taylor-Gerken -- who had pushed tirelessly for a district-wide program.

Mrs. Varwig made sure she thanked Ian Vogt, a Bowsher senior who had 'masterminded' the program at the high school, as well as all of the TPS and UT employees responsible for developing and implementing the program.

"This was truly a team effort," she said.

TPS officials are especially proud that the Go Green program is student-driven because it's a great way that young people can show they are committed to protecting the earth's natural resources.

When the Green Teams were first being formed, young Vogt from Bowsher weighed in on the importance of recycling.

"We need to teach students to recycle in their everyday life. With a school system as large as ours we can work together to create a better tomorrow," he said. "This is a great way to be TPS PROUD!"

Jason Toth, UT's assistant vice president for facilities and construction, said at the news conference that UT wanted to be involved because such a program represents a key focus of the university.

"We want to be a transformative force in our world and with a district as large as TPS, this program will make a difference," he said.

Written on April 23, 2015