The Kingsdale Academy school community in Pierrefonds, Que., is celebrating after a teacher and her class won national environmental awards.
Grade 3 teacher Lia Ciarallo and her class nabbed the prizes after taking part in the Classroom Energy Diet Challenge, an annual contest put on by Canadian Geographic Education, the educational arm of the Royal Canadian Geographic Society. Students from kindergarten to Grade 12 are eligible.
The contest ran from February to March.
Ciarallo took one of the top prizes with Energy Educator of the Year in the elementary school category, for being committed to teaching her students about energy consumption and environmental awareness.
“I’ve been teaching it for four years,” she laughed. “I’ve been at this school for four years.”
“I’m proud of her,” said eight-year-old Ava Pattison, one of Ciarallo’s students, “because she’s worked on teaching us and she deserves an award.”
The students were recognized for one of the exercises they did for the contest, titled “Tips and Tricks.”
“We did a video on how to use less energy,” explained nine-year-old Juliette Milad.
They came in fourth out of more than 500 teams. Their reward: $150.
“We’re gonna have a pizza party,” declared Milad.
Some of the things they did for the contest have become common practice, like having waste-free lunches, as well as something else they had to fight for.
According to principal Nataly Knott, the school suspended their composting programme temporarily because of the pandemic, so when Ciarallo’s Grade 3 students asked to start composting, they were told no.
“Her class was quite upset at me,” the principal admitted. “So they decided all on their own to make a petition and present it to me.”
Knott said she was so moved she had to say yes, so they made a deal and now the students have a small compost bin in the classroom. Both Ciarallo and Knott are encouraged.
“Yeah, these kids give us hope for the future,” said Knott.
Ciarallo said she already has her sights set on next year.
“Well, I would really like to take a lot of our projects and bring them school wide,” she pointed out.