The classroom fell silent and student’s anticipation grew as U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Buffalo District Commander LTC Karl Jansen introduced himself and explained that he and his team were here to judge the Reverse Engineering and Recycling Competition.
Students from three classrooms at Buffalo Public School (BPS) #89, Dr. Lydia T. Wright School of Excellence, had been preparing their recycle persuasion project for weeks and it was time for the USACE Buffalo District team to determine the best presentations, posters, and recycled project for each grade.
“Our students have been working so hard to get to this point,” said Megan Silkowski, BPS #89 fourth grade teacher and STEM coordinator. “We have been trying to get more of our students here to recycle, what better way to get them involved and to motivate their classmates then make it a competition.”
As groups began to present, LTC Jansen engaged the students and asked them how they worked as a team, where they came up with such creative ideas, and why it is important to recycle. As a special reward, in each of the three classrooms the best presenter received a special coin from LTC Jansen.
“It is at this age group that we hope to make a difference by inspiring the next generation to serve our Nation” said LTC Jansen. “The goal is much greater than simply motivating recyclers; rather, it is to engage these young minds by showing how their creativity and problem solving skills can keep America's infrastructure sustainable and resilient through the fields of the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.”
The judges found one of the most persuasive recycling presentations talked about the importance of keeping trash out of our waterways.
“The Great Lakes is our most important source of fresh water,” explained Dave Romano, USACE Buffalo District deputy engineer for planning, programs and project management. “In the years to come you students will be the ones responsible for keeping our environment healthy and clean. It has to start now, and it starts with recycling.”
Throughout the 2015-2016 school year the USACE Buffalo District will continue to support BPS #89 with their STEM initiative.
“Our children need the inspiration and motivation that comes with the Corps of Engineers being engaged in our classrooms,” said Mrs. Silkowski. “I know that it will make a huge difference in our student’s lives and I am looking forward to the next program.”