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Hampton High School sophomore IB academy students host Raffle for the Bay event

Hampton High School’s cafeteria was abuzz with learning and laughter on Saturday, February 11. Sophomore students in Hampton High School’s International Baccalaureate (IB) Academy hosted Raffle for the Bay as a culmination of their months-long project-based learning experience on environmental sustainability. More than 50 participants that spanned all ages (from PreK to retirees) attended the environmental event to learn more about efforts each of us can make to protect the environment and, specifically, the Chesapeake Bay.


Students in Jennifer Menzel’s 10th grade English class decided to investigate environmental sustainability after watching the documentary End Game 2050. The class broke into six groups that each focused on a different aspect of environmental sustainability. Students Aaron Bunn, Shaunte Moore, Markos Pritchard, and Sam Davis’ project was chosen as the project to pursue with classmates Samiyah Meriwether, Shalise Green-Linzy, Janelle Willingham, Aniyah Pierce, and others, including Ashley Ault’s Ecology Club members, joining in to bring the project plan to fruition.


The students decided to host an environmental fair-type event that would bring attention to a local natural resource and national treasure, the Chesapeake Bay. Students repurposed materials to create carnival-style games such as tic-tac-toe, peg board toss, and bowling. They had cornhole, ring toss, badminton, a coloring station, as well as face-painting and henna tattoo stations. Eco art sculptures from Ault’s art students were also on display.


Students reached out to and engaged community groups such as the Sierra Club, Shored Up, Hampton City Schools Oyster Restoration Project, Peninsula Master Naturalists, Goodwill, and Hampton High School Ecology Club to exhibit. They secured donations of items from organizations such as the Virginia Air and Space Science Center and created attractive raffle baskets. Through snack sales, raffles, face painting, and henna tattoos, the students raised $360.50 that will be donated to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.


While the money raised for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation is significant, the learning and networking that occurred as a part of the planning and the event itself was priceless. Student Aaron Bunn shared, “This project┬átaught us the importance of connecting to our local communities to start a movement for change.” He said that students have been so energized that they would like to carry the momentum forward by organizing a city-wide clean up in the spring. Judging by the cheers and standing ovation the students received at the end of the event from participants and exhibitors, these committed students should have no trouble making it happen.


When the students presented their project at their school-wide showcase on February 14, they won and will be moving on to the district level showcase in March.