Peace and the planet are empowering PBHS students

The 30 students in Kara Sprague’s Youth Empowerment and Sustainability Skills (YESS) class wanted to make an impact here in their home town. Marking both International Peace Day (Sept. 21) as well as the Global Climate Strike (Sept. 20), Sprague and her students created pinwheels for peace and arranged them in a peace sign in front of the school facing Route 302.

High School students standing on a grassy hill with a peace sign made of small pinwheels. One girl is holding a sign that says "There is no planet B"

They have also been studying the effects of climate change on the environment as well. Since Friday, Sept. 20 was a global event held in cities and towns around the world, Pine Bush High School was also represented in bringing attention to the climate crisis that is endangering the planet.

A high school girl with dark hair and glasses wearing a gray sweatshirt holds a poster that says "Climate Action for Peace."

The students along with Sprague and Jill Gribbon, a nurse at the high school, stood outside on what was a beautiful late summer day. They held signs and spelled out “Climate crisis ahead” and chanted “Hey hey, ho ho, climate change has got to go” as many who drove by acknowledged them with a beep of the horn.

A young woman with dark shoulder length hair wearing a white shirt holds a colorful sign that says Everyone Matters. Share the World.

Sprague said she has wanted to put together a class like YESS for quite a while.

“The idea of the class is to get kids to take compassionate leadership roles in their community,” said Sprague. “Being interactive with their community, they feel empowered.”

Three high school students smile holding their pinwheels for peace.

Gribbon agreed, noting the students have been very excited about this project. But this is not the only project that has brought them out of the classroom. The students helped design and build the wellness courtyard at the high school and have participated in a clean-up project.

“Part of this is to get kids outside, to get them connected to nature and fresh air, all while doing good,” said Sprague.

Two high school girls, ,both with long dark hair, hold posters regarding the climate crisis.

The kids are seeing the benefits of the meditation garden, according to Gribbon, where no electronics are allowed.

“These are such great kids,” said Sprague. “Their energy is fantastic.”

Pine Bush Central School District
State Route 302, Pine Bush, NY 12566
Phone: (845) 744-2031
Fax: (845) 744-6189
Tim O. Mains
Superintendent of Schools
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