A visit to Southport Elementary School

By Sam Harrington, 6th grade, School For Community Learning



On my way into Southport Elementary School, I failed to notice the fake coyotes. I don’t know how a person would miss a fake coyote, but I managed to miss them. My boss, Jim Poyser, and my fellow intern, Caydn Waxingmoon, claimed they saw them, but they didn’t mention it on the way in.

I rang the school doorbell, and we were greeted by the receptionist who then called the principal. Principal Spencer introduced himself and asked us who we were. I said ”I am Sam Harrington and I am in sixth grade at School for Community Learning.” Because I’ve been interning with Earth Charter Indiana, I have been saying this a lot recently, so I had had some practice. Caydn introduced herself and then the principal took us on a tour and told us how they wanted to make the school more eco-friendly. Lastly, he wanted us to examine the outdoor space, because they wanted a garden but weren’t sure where to put it.

In the kindergarten-first grade wing, the main thing I noticed was that there were no recycling cans. Only trash, even in the restrooms. Maybe wet paper isn’t recyclable. There also wasn’t any visible light switches or motion sensors. The situation was similar with the second and third grade wings, though the classrooms had recycling bins. But the art teacher, Miss White, had three visible recycling bins, fake paper vines hanging from the ceiling and recycled plastic chairs in the shape of human hands. As it turned out, she had taken a field trip to Ray’s recycling plant and had created a recycling patrol. She would be a cool grandma.

There were motion sensors and recycling bins in the remaining, newer wings. Then we went outside and Principal Spencer said they have a goose problem and so they put fake coyotes on school grounds. It worked for all of one day, he said, before the geese figured it out. I noticed a lot of goose poop. A lot! Not kidding! As we walked around the property, I noticed a few plastic water bottles discarded by the sidewalk. Principal Spencer said not to worry because the 2nd graders were going to do a presentation on litter. And every faucet had a leak like a running nose.

Then I saw the saddest thing on earth. The principal said we were going to check on the recycling dumpster and there was only one small recycling bin! My house has more recycling than this. I will somehow make sure they are going to recycle more.

Overall, it was a good experience and it had been enriching for a new kid like me, and made me extremely excited about interning with my boss, Jim Poyser. Come to think of it, their cafeteria could use a recycling bins. Or less individual packaging.

Even if the fake coyotes don’t scare off the geese, at least they make good selfie partners.