Huntington High School’s Environmental Club has turned into a legitimate juggernaut with an energetic and remarkably engaged group of members and a full agenda that it is pursuing in tireless fashion.
This year’s club has 80 members that are actively participating. The organization is led by Neil Jean-Baptiste (president), Ava Waxenberg (vice president), Gabe Medina-Jaudes (treasurer), Moria Contino (recording secretary), Jose Suarez (corresponding secretary), Carrie Kilgour (historian), Aiden Franznick (administrative assistant) and James Obermaier (social media correspondent). Veteran science teacher Deborah Beck is the club’s faculty advisor.
The group was founded during the 2016/17 school year by then high school students Rachel Roday and Noah Morris. “I was only a freshman, but Rachel Roday quickly asked me in person to join and help pilot the club alongside Noah Morris and Rachel Moss knowing that she would graduate later that year,” Mr. Jean-Baptiste said.
Since its founding, more than 100 students have been members of the club. Mrs. Beck is the organization’s third advisor in four years, but it appears she is in for the long-term. “With her strength alongside our current officers, we’ve doubled our membership since last school year,” Mr. Jean-Baptiste said.
The club has plans to create a community cleanup this year, establish a Huntington anti- plastic straw campaign and further enhance its already existing recycling program.
“A greater club presence within our community would significantly expand environmental awareness and consciousness,” Mr. Jean-Baptiste said. “We wish to have our community lead by example for other towns across our region to follow in order to push Long Island in the right direction.
The club has grown in stature over a relatively short period of time. “Our objective is to further expand ecopsychology throughout not only the high school population, but out to our great community as well,” Mr. Jean-Baptiste said. “We’ve successfully established an in-school recycling program due to our many proactive members. As the high school program began, teachers and students outside our club were quick to participate. Tons of paper are handled every Friday by our members who are determined to make a small, but very significant difference to our school’s footprint.”
Club members collected consumer data in 2017 outside supermarkets related to the habits of shoppers and their use of paper and plastic bags. The results were used by Suffolk County in establishing its program to encourage the use of reusable bags.
“For me, I’m proud our school has a population driven to make our ecological footprint less substantial,” Mr. Jean-Baptiste said. “From a simple idea of creating this club to today, I can’t believe how far our school has come. Teachers from every department and students from all walks of life wish to keep our progress going by making sure our school community is harmoniously functioning in an environmentally conscious fashion.”
Club members take delight in the appreciation faculty members have been expressing for the organization’s good works. “I’m extremely excited to witness what our future as a united student body brings to the 2020s,” Mr. Jean-Baptiste said.