EXETER — Walking the halls of the Wyoming Area Secondary Center and see recyclables thrown in trash bins, Kim Ferrara knew something needed to be done.
Having founded LEAP (Leaders of Environmental Awareness and Protection) in the past year, Ferrara presented her idea of making recycling mandatory throughout the Wyoming Area School District at Tuesday’s monthly school board meeting. After a unanimous vote to accept the proposal, it is now up to Ferrara to make that mandate happen.
“I discovered it was something I wanted to do for the rest of my life and it was something I was passionate about,” Ferrara said about recycling. “I saw all these problems and I thought there has to be kids in the school that care as much as I do.”
The senior started the organization not knowing where it would go but she has competed in the annual Luzerne County Envirothon for the past several years and knew some students would back her. Now, the organization has more than 40 student members.
She said having the school board recognize the problem is the first step to solving the problem.
“It means so much to me that people in charge of my school can appreciate what we’re doing,” she said. “That’s something we’re doing to make an impact at the school.”
Through research, Ferrara pointed out that each student in high school is responsible for 67 pounds of lunch packaging every school year. That’s an average of 18,760 pounds per elementary school. She noted that 1,500 water bottles are consumed in schools every second and 80 percent of the waste in schools is compostable or recyclable.
Moving forward, the plan is for the entire Wyoming Area School District to have mandatory recycling practices in place. In the past, Exeter Borough employees picked up recycling at the high school.
While recycling will now be mandatory throughout the school district, the group will make signs to promote the cause, while allocating time during school to ensure recyclables are handled properly. The hope is also to place more recycling bins and paper bins throughout the schools.
“There were recycling bins, but they weren’t actually recycling bins,” she said. “They were just trash cans.”
Not surprising, Ferrara wants to attend college to study environmental engineering.
Volleyball coach officially resigns
Amid charges against former Wyoming Area girls volleyball coach Nick Diaco, Brian Reese was officially appointed as the new head girls volleyball coach. Diaco’s official resignation came at the meeting.
Authorities charged Diaco, who also coached boys volleyball at Dallas, on Sept. 23 with corruption of minors and unlawful contact with a minor. Police found that Diaco, 26, of Luzerne, had sent “lengthy sexually explicit text messages” to one of the female athletes.
In other business…
• The board approved September tuition reimbursement to 38 teachers in the amount of $35,225.
• Alexandra Berlew was appointed as a long-term substitute for special education teacher Christina Donati, retroactive to Sept. 2, at a step placement of $40,546, pro-rated according to the duration of the assignment.
• Celeste Calpin was appointed as Driver Theory Instructor at $30 per hour for the 2016-17 school year.
• Brittany Dunn was appointed as Health/Physical Education teacher.
• The following coaches were appointed for the 2016-17 fall and winter sports season: Christopher Murphy, assistant football, salary of $2,090; Robert Jesse, assistant wrestling, salary of $3,377; Kirby Szalkowski, junior high field hockey, salary of $2,508; Jordan Okun, assistant boys soccer, salary of $2,508.
• Tristan Vanderlick was appointed junior high wrestling coach at a salary of $3,377 for the 2016-17 winter sports season.
Reach Nick Wagner at 570-991-6406 or on Twitter @Dispatch_Nick