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Every day is Earth Day at Bishop Marshall School

Earth Day 2017 will be observed throughout the world on April 22, but for the students, faculty and staff at The Bishop John A. Marshall School in Morrisville, every school day is Earth Day.
 
That’s because they have taken seriously their responsibility to care for the Earth and have, over the past couple of years, significantly increased their reduce, reuse and recycle efforts and added composting to their mix of care-of-the-Earth endeavors.
 
Two years ago Bishop Marshall School conducted its first trash audit. “We safely sorted and weighed the cafeteria and kitchen trash as well as trash from three classrooms, separating food scraps, trash, compost items and recyclables. As you can imagine, this task was not fun, but it was necessary,” commented Heather Gentle, food services director.
 
Only 1 percent of what was thrown away was recycled; nothing was composted.
 
“It was time for a new plan for the 2015-16 school year,” Gentle said. So with the help of the fifth-grade class, the school joined the Teens Reaching Youth Team through the 4-H Teen and Leadership Program and the Lamoille Regional Solid
Waste Management District.
 
Now all classrooms have compost and recycle bins and smaller trash baskets, and students are instructed in separating waste into compost, recycle and trash; older students help younger ones sort in the lunchroom.
 
The fourth and fifth graders take turns collecting the classroom compost bins and empty them into the main compost. They then rinse them and return them to classrooms.
 
Fifth grader Augustine Wright, 10, said it can be unpleasant to scrape food out of the compost bin with his gloved hand, but he does it “because I’m helping the environment.”
 
The school no longer provides straws because they are a single use item that remains in the landfill and no longer sells plastic water bottles, thanks to a donation of two water fountains that fill reusable water bottles. Cafeteria trays are disposable and compostable.
 
All of these efforts would not be successful without “the complete cooperation of teachers and students,” said Carrie Wilson, head of school for the 137-student prekindergarten through grade eight school.
 
No audit has been done this year, but she said the school is “in a position” to rent only one of its two dumpsters for trash. “I want to give the project two years to be sure we have sustainable results.”
 
She said the new ways of disposing of waste are easy to implement; it just takes “retraining your brain” to sort rather than dump everything in the rubbish. “We’re trying to instill [in students] that habit of mindfulness.”
 
“This is something we want to be part of to help the environment be healthier,” said Maddy Ziminsky, 13, a seventh grader. “Sometimes we teach our parents and can influence them to make good decisions” about composting and recycling.
 
As part of their religion and technology classes, seventh and eighth graders will be creating an Earth Day video to show what the school has done to promote care of the Earth and to serve as a guide for others. It will be available on the school website and at vermontcatholic.org.
 
“We are charged to be good stewards of the environment,” Wilson said. “We want to send our children into the world with a strong faith foundation to be good citizens and to take care of the world.”
 
Earth Day, celebrated in more than 193 countries, is observed annually on April 22 to demonstrate and promote environmental awareness and call for the protection of the Earth. 

This story was published originally in the spring issue of Vermont Catholic magazine.
 
  • Published in Schools

Being a ‘good’ sport Teaching life skills through athletics

As a teacher, a coach and a father, Brian Buczek wants to help children discover different possibilities for success.

And for him, success does not always mean winning; sometimes success is learning a lesson or accomplishing a goal.

Buczek is in his second year as physical education teacher and athletic director at The Bishop John A. Marshall School in Morrisville, and he brings to the position a wealth of athletic experience, particularly in soccer.    

Born in Sharon Springs, N.Y., he began playing soccer in third grade; it was a sport that came easily to him. He played soccer, baseball and basketball in high school and soccer at Paul Smith’s College in Paul Smiths, N.Y. -— where he earned an associate’s degree in 1993 in hospitality management — and at Johnson (Vermont) State College where he has nearly completed a bachelor’s degree in physical education.

He has coached on the collegiate level at Johnson State College and at Middlebury (Vermont) College, and as the boys’ varsity head coach at Stowe High School he led the team to three state Division III championships.

In addition, Buczek coached for eight seasons in Olympic Development Program soccer and also coached for seven seasons in Chittenden County club soccer with Far Post and Nordic Spirit.

This year he is focusing on the Bishop Marshall School soccer program, serving as head coach for the grades seven and eight co-ed team and training all age groups.

“Brian and his family joined the BJAMS community last August, bringing with them energy, enthusiasm and ideas of how to enhance and expand our offerings,” said Head of School Carrie Wilson. 

As athletic director and three-season coach (fall soccer, basketball and spring soccer), he has developed a physical education curriculum that highlights sportsmanship, goal setting, fitness, nutrition and wellness for students in pre-kindergarten through eighth grade.

“He has a positive approach to all he does and works hard to encourage and develop both the emerging and seasoned athlete. His sense of humor, stories and positive outlook make him a pleasure to work with,” Wilson said.

“Every child wants to be challenged, and it’s not just through the physical aspect of the game,” Buczek said. “They also want to be challenged to understand the mental tools needed to get better,” like staying focused and concentrating on what is important. “When you watch the negative antics in professional sports…that is not how to play on the amateur level,” Buczek said.

He works with his players to stay focused on what is important in a game, to work as a team, to problem solve and to continue to advance to the goal — all important life lessons too.

“It’s easy to let kids be mad; it’s hard to find out why they are frustrated or mad and help them to the next step, which is problem solving,” he said.

He sees winning as not only the end result, but individual accomplishments as well. “And if I can help them identify what makes them successful, then I won,” he added. 

A former food and beverage director at a Stowe resort, he and his college sweetheart, Samantha, have been married for 13 years and have two children: Ivan, 11, and Ava, 9. The children — both soccer players — attend Bishop Marshall School.

Through soccer, he hopes his children will have fun, be competitive in a positive way, learn to solve problems, be examples of good sportsmanship and “play hard because effort shadows everything.”

He and his wife — who is an event manager at a Stowe resort and a soccer player — own Vermont United Soccer Academy in Morrisville. And he is a partner for Paddle North, a paddle board business on Lake Elmore in Elmore.

A Morrisville resident, Buczek enjoys attending Mass at Blessed Sacrament Church in Stowe and the weekly school Mass. He said he “lost his way” of practicing his faith when he was a busy, successful restaurant owner in Wells, N.Y., but he has embarked on what he calls a “rejourney of faith.”

Asked what he wants his children to experience from their Catholic faith, Buczek said he wants them to be good, caring and compassionate individuals who make an effort to help others. He wants them to pray, to thank God for their blessings and to understand that God can put even adversity into perspective.

Adopted by an “amazing family,” Buczek said he always felt God was watching over him. “So do I thank God for how lucky I am? 100 percent!” he said.

Article written by Cori Fugere Urban,
Vermont Catholic content editor/staff writer.
  • Published in Schools
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