Plastic Stops Here

“Hello, Cathedral School. We have a major issue: plastic. We are the 3rd Grade and we have been working hard to stop it,” said Graham K. ‘26 in a presentation to Lower School Assembly on March 5. Graham and the entire 3rd Grade have become passionate advocates for eliminating the devastating effects of plastic on the environment.

Their desire to eliminate plastic was ignited after a science unit with Ms. Zapreva. The students buried wrappers, tea bags, salt packets, along with fruit, and paper fragments in soil to create mini-landfills. The fruit bio-degraded in a week, the paper after a month, but the plastic remained unaltered in color or structure. “We realized that any plastic we throw away does not go away, it stays here on planet earth, for longer than we are going to be alive. It takes a minute to eat a cheese stick but the wrapper will live on earth longer than us!” said Ryusei L ‘26.

Realizing the student’s passion, Ms. Valentine devoted time in art class to enrich their advocacy. They looked at activist art and created their own posters using colored pencils, markers, oil pastels, and paper to create drawings that might amplify their voices. In literacy class, Ms. Elmore, Ms. Santos, and Ms. Gordan worked with students on persuasive writing. One group studied speeches by young activists like Greta Thunberg and then wrote their own impassioned speeches. Another group analyzed articles and videos about plastic pollution and wrote media reviews. A third group wrote persuasive letters to Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer to ask for legislation to help in the matter.  

Quinn O. ‘26 eloquently summed it up in her recorded speech. “We need to act. The world is full of magic and you’re taking that away from us with plastic,” she said. You can see Quinn’s speech along with all of the activist art, media reviews and letter writing on the 3rd Grade Plastic Stops Here website, which is a true testament to our integrated STEAM curriculum, cross-curricular collaboration, and the power of student voices. 
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