The Importance of Service in our Community
School-wide environmental initiatives
One source of great pride for our school and community is that our students, faculty, and families have made significant contributions to a cleaner and healthier environment reflecting a commitment to making our world a better place to live.
In our classrooms, we discuss how to eat healthy, how to conserve our resources, how to protect the beauty of our island and our wildlife, how to appreciate the world around us, and how to reach out to those in need.
- 2014-2015: Our third graders led the drive to name the American Burying Beetle as the state insect of Rhode Island.
- 2015-2016: The school benefitted from a state grant to add solar panels to the Hill House roof to help us conserve energy.
- 2016-2017: Middle school students researched how plastics litter our beaches and proceeded to successfully campaign local government decision makers for plastics bag bans on the island.
Through all of this, we discovered that when students and adults care about our environment and act on principles of leadership, they can truly make a difference.
This year, our school-wide environmental leadership theme is “Clean Oceans”. Several groups of students are following and corresponding with 11th Hour Racing Vestas in the Volvo Ocean Race. They will be receiving regular updates from the crew about the state of oceans as they sail across the globe. We will be following up with more information on this project!
Last year, Middle School students joined the campaign to ban plastic bags throughout Aquidneck Island. In the spring of 2017, Middletown and Newport council approved the details of a ban on commercial plastic bags in these two towns and the ban began on November 1. Our current 6th graders will continue with these efforts at Portsmouth Town Hall meetings.
In recognition of their efforts and this monumental success, we acknowledged these students during our November assembly and handed out two items to continue the environmental awareness campaign.
Thanks to donations of time, money, and effort, reusable water bottles and grocery bags were distributed to all of our students, faculty, and staff, with the hopes that this small step in using less plastic will make for a big change in the health of our community.
Dave McLaughlin of Clean Ocean Access assisted with the design and co-branding of reusable grocery bags. Third grader Lily M, generously donated her 1st place prize money from last year’s Aquidneck Land Trust essay contest to help purchase the bags.
St. Michael’s parent, and owner of 11th Hour Racing, Rob McMillan (Mojo and Tatum) along with grandparent Lisette Prince de Ramel, (Charlie and Elizabeth) donated funds for water bottles. Amy Wintersteen (Mojo and Tatum) also spent several hours personalizing the water bottles with each student's name.
Many ways to serve
The theme of November at St. Michael's is Courage. During the Veteran's Day assembly we spoke about the courage, dedication, and perseverance of our students in their quest to educate our community about the negative aspects of plastic. We also met Lt. Cmdr. Chelsea Creekmuir who spoke to our students about being in the Navy and how the role of an Officer requires full implementation of the Traits for Success.
During her 22 years in the Navy, Chelsea served multiple sea and shore tours, working in operations, scheduling and crisis action planning. In Afghanistan, she served as a military affairs coordinator, planning humanitarian assistance operations by working with the Afghanistan government to provide goods, aid, and services to people in need. This also includes a Navy current initiative in Puerto Rico. She shared with the students how the Navy can get to many places that others can't, due to the fact that we have ships. For the upcoming Holiday season we are continuing in this vein of service with an outreach effort for students in Puerto Rico affected by the Hurricanes. Stay tuned for more on this two exciting program!