Big changes to local school district thanks to some special students

Stateline Strong

OGLE COUNTY (WTVO) — The school year may be over but big changes are coming to Meridian School District 223.

It’s all thanks to a group of students at Monroe Center Grade School, who’s passion for the environment is helping make a difference.

“There’s no age cap on great ideas,” Said Superintendent Of Schools Meridian CUSD 223 Dr. PJ Caposey.

Izzy Cowen, Sydney Frantz, and Evee Layng are students at Monroe Center Grade School and are the reason their entire school district will no longer use plastic straws.

After watching a video online about how plastic affect turtles, the girls decided they had to do their part to help.

“We just wanted to change the way the school has straws, so we just wanted to change it from plastic to paper to save the turtles and other animals,” said Izabella Cowen.

Without hesitation, they did their research and started making posters and hanging them throughout their school to spread the word of the damage plastic can do to animals.

“We felt bad for them because they had straws and stuff and plastic around their necks and straws stuck up in their noses,” said Izabella Cowen as she described what she saw during her research.

It wasn’t long before their 4th grade teacher Ms. Massari took notice of their efforts. The girls put together a presentation to share with their principal Mrs. Simpson, Food Service Director, Mrs. Lisa Reber and Superintendent Caposey.

In the video you can see the girls holding up their presentation explaining how plastic impacts the environment and the animals.
The two minute video convinced superintendent caposey to make the switch.

“Kids are amazing we just have to let them be amazing and sometimes get out of their way. So, I am incredibly happy and proud of the staff at monroe center for empowering and enabling them to have their voice heard,” said Superintendent Caposey.

The girls found out their mission was a success during an assembly at the end of the school year.

“We were all very excited… We were like ahh,” said Evee Layng.

Sydney Frantz adds, “We just wanted to help save the environment and that happened so we were really thankful that our teachers and people were actually letting us do that.”

It’s that support from educators that Mrs. Simpson says creates leaders and encourages students to follow their passion.

“To have somebody support your passion and who you are and what you believe in is what education’s all about because you build those relationships in order to have that trust and then you can build and learn anything,” said Mrs. Simpson.

“If you want to do something, you can do it. Like if you want to change something, you can change it,” said Sydney Frantz.

The girls hope their efforts influence local school districts to also make the switch and help to their part to save the environment.

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