A group of 25 committed Magnolia West High School Interact members, led by club president Dakota (Cody) Stormer, have began an initiative to help the Magnolia Independent School District (MISD) become more eco-friendly, by raising the awareness of students and teachers to conserve energy and reduce their carbon footprints.
This past August, Interact club members joined forces with National Honor Society members to work for a week at MISD’s J.L. Lyon Elementary. Their mission? To get the “go green” message across. They helped teachers create bulletin boards with conservation messages, moved furniture and placed stickers encouraging energy and waste conservation on lights, computers and even paper towel dispensers.
J. L. Lyon fifth grade science and social studies teacher Julie Sustala thought the work the students did was a “life saver for us teachers. They all worked enthusiastically and they did a great job.”
Connie Melton, fifth grade reading and language arts teacher at J.L. Lyon, was also appreciative of the help the students provided.
“They provided my room with a warm, cozy feel – it has never looked better,” she said. “Dakota was a student of mine here before and I saw the spark of leadership in him. I’m not surprised he has become such a good organizer.”
The Magnolia West Interact club plans a similar effort at Williams Elementary Sept. 29, with the students again donating their time and hard work. Stormer explained that projects like this are part of Interact’s environmental stewardship project for the national student organization Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA).
“We hope to add more MISD schools to our schedule throughout the school year,” said Stormer. “We want this project to help teachers educate students about their impact on the environment and make this a cleaner, greener year for our district.”
Interact “green” initiatives include recycling plastic bottles at Magnolia West, promoting water conservation and educating students about ways to reduce litter and pollution.
The Rotary Club of Magnolia sponsors the Interact clubs at both Magnolia and Magnolia West High Schools.
“Interact clubs are the high school version of Rotary – a service organization to help students give back to their communities,” Judy Bode, the club’s Rotary liaison, said. “It is exciting to watch these kids develop their own vision and leadership skills.”
Deborah Rose Miller, Rotary Club President agreed.
“We are so proud of what the Magnolia West Interact club has done,” she said. “It is truly helping to teach young people that life is not just about them but about helping others.”
Besides being the Magnolia West Interact club founder and president, Stormer is also a board member of Keep Montgomery County Beautiful, so going green is something he is passionate about.
“We chose J.L. Lyon as the first school in our project, because I had heard that the school had been actively engaged in energy conservation in the past and thought they would welcome us,” Stormer said. “We believe this project will save the school thousands of dollars in electric bills.“
Magnolia West students wishing to join Interact or volunteer for the conservation project should contact Stormer at 832-533-0935 or faculty sponsor Connie Maddox at the high school. Any Magnolia or Magnolia West student is eligible to join Interact, and dues are about $15 per year.
The Magnolia Interact club’s conservation project is part of a national FCCLA competition. FCCLA comprises more than 200,000 members in approximately 6,500 chapters across the U.S. The organization focuses on helping students promote personal growth and leadership by addressing critical issues such as character development, creative thinking, interpersonal communications and career preparation. It encourages active student participation in community or family activities at local, state and national levels. For more information, visit www.fcclainc.org.