We love working with and recognizing all of our outstanding youth and educators across the state. We're proud to show off our Keep Texas Beautiful Awards for this year's Youth and Educator recipients. This program honors extraordinary students, educators and volunteers working to improve and beautify their communities. Each application is judged on history, leadership, impact, innovation and support of the Keep Texas Beautiful mission.
Learn more about the award categories and winner details below:
RUTHE JACKSON AWARD
Recognizing the efforts and leadership of youth (as individuals and their collective efforts as a group or team) and youth-oriented organizations to beautify the community and create cleaner, greener campuses, parks and neighborhoods.
Youth Individual: Soham Datar, Baytown
Soham is Valedictorian of his graduating class and the first ever high school student board member of Keep Baytown Beautiful. One of his many accomplishments was to help transform the Baytown Trash-Off to "Talking Trash," which saw a 15% increase in involvement due to his marketing expertise. He has truly activated the youth in the community, as well as with Keep Baytown Beautiful. The city of Baytown will sure miss his creativity and community engagement as he heads off to Harvard this fall.
Youth Organization: Weslaco High School Family Career and Community Leaders of America
These Welsaco High School students have been on a three year journey to clean and beautify one of the oldest parks in Weslaco. The students were able to raise over $100,000 for improvements to Gibson Park, which was used toward clean up supplies, designing and painting a mural, installing a walking track, new generational swings, and so much more. The number of hours donated by the students is in the thousands. The park has been brought back to life and the community is living outdoors once again.
SADIE RAY GRAFF
Recognizing the efforts of educators and educational institutions that provide instruction/programming to Pre K-college students to encourage youth involvement and promote the KTB mission through environmental education.
Educator: Amber Bermudez, Grand Prairie
Amber Bermudez is a teacher at South Grand Prairie High School where she has been encouraging students to improve their community for the past eleven years. Not only was she awarded teacher of year in 2019, but she also worked alongside her students to help the school become the third Keep America Beautiful School in the nation. Her students also maintain two streets through the Adopt-a-Street program and participate in the Grand Prairie Litter Team. Simply stated, Ms. Bermudez is a great resource for education and activism for our students.
Educational Institution: Alvin Independent School District
This past year, Alvin ISD implemented "The Day" community service project, which brought together 31 schools and 26,000 students to work on over 280 service projects across the city. These projects included yard work, painting a daycare, mulching at parks, litter pickups along roads and so much more. Through "The Day", Alvin ISD is hoping to instill a heart to serve in the next generation. "The Day" is already scheduled for September 2019.
Interested in nominating an outstanding youth or educator next year? Learn more about all of our Keep Texas Beautiful Awards: https://ktb.org/ktbawards
Blog Post Written By Rebekah Grmela, Former Communications Director at KTB.