Six schools have undergone a total makeover using recycled materials and vegetable gardens this term as part of their participation in the Bank South Pacific (B.S.P.) Go Green School Beautification project.
The inaugural project attempts to engage children in sustainability and recycling by decorating their schools, environments where they spend most of their time.
Samoa Primary School, All Saints Anglican School, Peace Chapel Primary School, contested the two categories: gardening and landscaping, and arts and crafts with recycled materials.
B.S.P. presented the winners of the two categories with a $2,400 cash prizes: Samoa Primary School for gardening and landscaping, and Peace Chapel Primary School for recycled arts and crafts.
In second place were St Mary’s College for gardening and landscaping, and St Joseph’s College for recycled arts and crafts, who each won $1600 tala.
Across the schools, principals and students agreed they wanted to spend their winnings on further beatifying the school, either with new art supplies or more gardening equipment.
Samoa Primary School Principal Anne Leauga said the Go Green initiative inspired not only the children, but their parents too.
The children have been sharing their environmental learnings with their families, who supported the project wholeheartedly, she said.
Families donated their time, resources and energy to help build the vegetable garden beds, cut bamboo for fencing, and even harvesting the vegetables which the children get to enjoy.
Peace Chapel Primary School won the recycled material art and craft category.
Each class worked with a different recyclable material, such as CD’s, plastic bottles, bottle caps and plastic tubs to decorate the entire school.
“It’s really cleaned up the school,” said Principal Lisa Lameta.
“The year eight students even got into the ditch and cleaned that up.”
Mrs Lameta said the project has given the school a fresh energy and enthusiasm about recycling and the environment.
Usually towards the end of the term, children are lacking in energy or focus, but with this project they are not faltering at all, she said.
“It’s wonderful to see the children bringing in material from home and realising all the things that would usually get thrown out,” Mrs Lameta said.
“Even now, the project is over but the children are still collecting material from home.”
BSP Business Manager Maiava Iaeli Tovia-Leota said the uptake from schools was encouraging and she would like to see the project happen again next year.
At St Joseph’s College, the boys built creative animal sculptures out of tyres, and large plant display units from the trunk of a tree in front of the school.
“Their work is really impressive,” said Principal Susitina Maletino.
“We have already had hotel owners approach us asking how much to buy their creations.”
For student Basqua Maualaivao, the Go Green project was about more than sustainability.
“For us, we can try to imagine what we can do with our minds to create something from waste,” he said.
“Tyres are everywhere, in every country, so we thought we should do something about them.”
Over the next two weeks, families and friends can vote for their favourite beautification projects on Facebook to award two people’s choice award, each worth $1200 tala.
The assessment and judging of the six schools was carried out by independent representatives from the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Informal Gardeners Group, who said all school projects were well presented but the winners were quite impressive and well structured.
Consolation prizes will also be awarded for Leififi College and All Saints Anglican School for their contribution to the Go Green Beautification Campaign.