Skip to main content

Dear community,

My name is Caroleena. I am a senior at Judson Early College Academy (JECA) in Universal City, Texas. I have been a part of EcoRise’s San Antonio Youth Engagement Council for Climate Initiatives since my junior year and have enjoyed every second of it! I joined to get involved in my community and better understand my city’s environmental advocacy and stewardship efforts. Through the council, I’ve met many people with my same passions, as well as great mentors who gave me insight into ways I could help my school.

My time on the council has shown me the importance of recycling and composting. I realized there weren’t waste management programs at my school. When I talked to the staff about it, I learned that some teachers collect recycling in their class and take it home to be recycled. I wanted to make sorting waste easier and more accessible for staff and students. I applied for the City of San Antonio’s EcoScholar sustainability grant and was awarded $5,000 to establish recycling and composting programs at JECA. The City of San Antonio also donated recycling bins to every classroom and seven cubic yards of compost to help us start a miniature garden.

I realized that I couldn’t do this alone. I started the EcoScholars committee—eight students dedicated to implementing the sustainability grant funds. We created educational posters and announcements about how and what to recycle to get the recycling program off the ground. We recruited a recycling crew of JECA students who need volunteer hours to pick up recycling every Thursday. We are all excited to be making an impact at our school—in seven months, we have already redirected about 6 tons of recyclable materials from going into the landfill!

Our next step is to get the composting program running. We already have compost bins and plan to start collecting food waste from the lunchroom this month. The new compost will help us expand our garden and grow a variety of vegetables and fruits. You can see our progress by following the @JECAEcoScholars Instagram.

I’m grateful for all the help I’ve received from the City of San Antonio, EcoRise, the Climate Council, my Principal, Mr. Greg Brauer, and the EcoScholars committee. I once heard a quote, “Don’t just do your bit, do your best.” I think it is important that we all apply this to the environment and help as much as we can!

Thank you for the support and Happy Earth Month! 🌎

JECA EcoScholars Founder and
San Antonio Youth Engagement Council for Climate Initiatives Member