Sept. 29, 2003 – Virgin Islands students are being asked by the territory's Education Department and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to envision a cleaner, more beautiful world, and to lend their artistic support to a national contest that will determine the art used by the agency's Office of Solid Waste for its Earth Day 2004 poster and a CD-ROM slated for nation-wide distribution.
V.I. Education Commissioner Noreen Michael announced in a Sept. 25 release that the department will participate in a nation-wide effort led by the OSW to teach the country's students the importance of resource conservation.
V.I. students are invited to create an original work of art based on a specific waste-related theme and to place their work in a competition where it will be judged alongside pieces created by students throughout the United States and her territories.
Younger students, grades kindergarten through six, are being given the task of painting, drawing or coloring their vision of "A Path To A World With Less Waste." The contest theme for older students, grades seven to 12, is to "Design A World With Less Waste."
"Recycling and reusing are two ways to cut down on the amount of trash we create. Here in the territory, the need to further promote recycling and reuse as part of our daily activities is key to improving the quality of life for all residents and visitors," commissioner Michael stated in the release, stressing her department's support for the OSW effort, as well as the importance of encouraging the territory's youngsters to take an active role in saving natural resources and protecting the environment.
This contest is a part of the OSW's overall mission to provide policy, guidance and direction for the EPA's solid waste and emergency response programs. The office deals with everything from aiding municipal governments in the management of their community's solid waste program, to providing response teams in the event of hazardous chemical or oil spills.
The grand prize winner among the younger students will have his or her art work used as the OSW's Earth Day 2004 poster. The grand prize winner of the older student's contest will have her or his piece recreated as the cover art for a CD-ROM the office will be sending out to students and researchers. 10 young artist will also receive honorable mention and have their art turned into screen savers on the CD.
Submissions for the contest are to be postmarked no later then Nov. 1, and students or interested parents may contact their school for more information. An official contest flyer can also be obtained by going to the EPA's Web site.
In a related Education Department release Commissioner Michael urged that, "It is an opportune time for our parents to become active participants in their children's school life," and to that end issued a list of tips designed to help parents promote postitive school experiences for their chilren:
1. Keep in touch with what's going on in your child's school life.
2. Meet your child's teachers on a regular basis, not just when there is a problem.
3. See that your child attends school and all classes regularly and on time.
4. Join the PTA/PTSA at your child's school.
5. Set the stage for good homework habits. Try to provide a quiet, well-lighted area for study. Make sure that the study area is comfortable, and that there is room for books and other homework tools.
6. Schedule home study on a regular basis.
7. Schedule a regular bedtime and maintain it.
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