Those honored as the best of the year during Keep Forsyth County Beautiful’s second annual Green Schools Expo included:
* Educator: Denise Webb at Coal Mountain Elementary
* Parent Educator: Katrina Oliver at Sharon Elementary
* Green School coordinators: Amy Leggett and Ken Fahey, both of North Forsyth High
* Group: Positive Associations Linking Special Students, or PALSS
* Students: Christian and Dillon LeCave
* Volunteer: Suzanne Geddes at Coal Mountain Elementary
* Business: Ginko Lawn and Landscape
* Administrator: Randy Herrin
Green School awards
* Gold Level: Cumming, Haw Creek, Midway, Settles Bridge and Whitlow elementary schools; Liberty Middle; and North and South Forsyth high schools
* Silver Level: Chattahoochee, Chestatee, Coal Mountain and Mashburn elementary schools
* Bronze Level: Johns Creek Elementary
Source: Keep Forsyth County Beautiful
As Keep Forsyth County Beautiful celebrates its 20-year anniversary, the organization took some time last week to hold its second annual Green Schools Expo.
The event, held Tuesday at Kelly Mill Elementary School, connected schools with companies and organizations that run various green programs, including recycling, geared toward them.
“It’s to introduce them to programs they didn’t know about,” said Kevin Smith, community outreach specialist with Keep Forsyth County Beautiful.
This year, the organization’s annual awards banquet was held in conjunction with the expo. It was also the first time the awards process involved nominations.
In years past, Smith said organizers “always tried to keep a close watch on everyone around the county and see who the winners are and it turned into a thing where there was just so much going on.”
“I had no idea of what was going on and there were certainly some people who were deserving of some, if nothing else, acknowledgement,” he said. “What we’ve done is we’ve moved to a nomination form and so the ... only way people win awards anymore is by filling out an application or filling out a nomination form.”
All of this year’s honorees came from Sharon and Coal Mountain elementary schools or North Forsyth High, which dominated the awards with six, including top student accolades to brothers Christian and Dillon LeCave.
Dillon LeCave said they were recognized because they “help a lot and we make sure we get all the recycling.”
His brother said they “just help out other people because we just like helping and helping our world.”
Their efforts have gone above and beyond, said Randy Herrin, assistant principal at the school.
“They’re down the hallways, they’re flying,” he said after they were given the award. “They do a phenomenal job, so they well deserve it.”
The two are part of the PALSS program at the high school, which also earned an award Tuesday for group of the year.
PALSS, short for Positive Associations Linking Special Students, is “the driving force behind the recycling program [at North], all the way down to the marketing side of it,” said Smith, noting that creating a successful high school recycling program is a daunting task.
“I’ve been through their school to see them walking around,” Smith said. “They are out there and that’s kind of the purpose of PALSS is to get them out there and get them meeting their peers and making friends.
“And the fact that they’re accomplishing that goal along with pulling off a recycling program in a high school is huge.”
The awards banquets previously honored outdoor gardens or classrooms, but since most schools now have one, Tammy Wright said the organization is planning to try something different.
“Gardens, outdoor classrooms, you guys have got it going on in the schools now with that,” said Wright, KFCB’s environmental program manager.
“So we’ve been trying to come up with a way to even increase that as far as recognition and something to give you guys some incentives.”
According to Wright, the organization is looking at starting a garden tour, honoring the top two trails, vegetable gardens and outdoor classrooms by inviting them to take part.
“It might be a really good way to share what you’re doing with the community, with other schools, with your parents and to get some recognition,” she said. “If you’re selected, that alone gives you some prestige ... and the proceeds go back, somehow, into the gardens.”