Lexi Preiser ’10
The Student Assembly’s five-day long “Respect Our School” campaign ended today, Feb. 5.
The initiative aimed to combat the garbage problem that has plagued Staples’ cafeteria for years. Each day, the assistant principals and janitors spend hours cleaning up the mess that is always left in the cafeteria after third lunch.
Principal John Dodig often addresses the issue via announcements over the loud speaker and on Good Morning Staples, yet little progress had been seen.
However, the Student Assembly decided to take action and launch a weeklong campaign with hopes of changing the general attitude of Staples students.
“We wanted to show people how important it is to realize that you have to respect Staples,” said Student Assembly President Hilary Campbell ’10. “[The campaign] is about respecting our school. Leaving your trash behind is just unacceptable.”
The campaign was set up as a competition, similar to the recycling campaign that the Student Assembly organized in April of 2009. The cafeteria was separated into sections by grade and each class was responsible for cleaning up that area after lunch.
Teachers monitored the cleanliness of the cafeteria after each lunch and gave each section a grade, one being the neatest and five being the messiest. The grade with the lowest score after third lunch on Friday wins a cash prize to help with paying for prom.
Teachers and students alike noticed a considerable difference in manners throughout the week, as many students volunteered to stay after the bell rang in order to throw away trash.
“I have seen the cafeteria cleaner than ever before,” said Student Assembly Vice-President Harry Rappaport ’10. “The competition is solely about respecting our school and showing that by cleaning up after ourselves.”
After five days of eating in a clean environment, the true test begins on Monday, Feb. 8, after the competition is over.
“We hope [this competition] brings about a long-term change but honestly it will be up to the students to decide whether or not they are going to keep the cafeteria clean,” said Campbell.
Winners of the Respect Our School campaign will be announced next week and the winning grade will be given a cash prize.
The Student Assembly plans to create more Respect Our School campaigns in the future, aimed at other locations besides the cafeteria.
“We’re so lucky to go to a school like Staples,” said Campbell. “It’s nice to be able to show our school that we have respect for it.