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HCS staff members and Burbank Elementary School win Clean City Commission awards

Sally Lewis, teacher at Kecoughtan High School, received the Innovative Educator Award, Marty Wood of Printing and Records Management received the 2022 Clean City Award for Outstanding Support of Hampton Clean City Commission (HCCC) activities, and Burbank Elementary School received the Innovative School Award at the Clean City Volunteer Recognition Event on October 20, 2022. The event is sponsored by the Hampton Clean City Commission.


The Innovative Teacher and Innovative School Award honor Hampton educators and schools who have gone above and beyond in providing environmental education initiatives and programs to students. The Innovative Teacher Award is also selected from Clean City nominees.


For more than 15 years, Lewis has been an integral part of HCCC’s School Pride in Action Committee (SPiA), serving as its chair since 2015. She is and has always been at the forefront of environmental education within her school and her own community.


Nominated by another innovative educator, Betsy McAllister, McAllister noted that Lewis has served as Kecoughtan’s Ecology Club sponsor since 2004, at which time she initiated the school’s recycling and plastic bag recycling programs. Her students are educated in areas of pollinator and native-friendly gardens, plant rescues during construction projects, oyster gardening, and litter cleanups. She coordinated school Earth Day events and assisted in sponsoring Clean City’s Earth Day Celebration in April of this year. She was nominated as Kecoughtan’s Teacher of the Year in 2006 and the Virginia Association of Science Teachers Biology Teacher of the Year in 2010.  


McAllister said it all with, “Sally exemplifies what it means to be environmentally conscious and (she) develops students who are actively engaged in making the world better.”


“Wood has assisted with so many of the HCCC projects and programs since September of 2021, volunteering her time and talents as a graphic designer and a webinar presenter,” shared C’Faison Harris, coordinator of the Hampton Clean City Commission. “Her incredible positive outlook makes her a joy to be around, especially with her ‘can-do’ attitude. On several occasions, she has taken the lead in creating clever graphics for committee projects, most recently 2022 Earth Day and Volunteer Celebration events.”


Wood is also a standing member of HCCC’s Bee City USA-Hampton and took the committee a step further by creating a native pollinator garden in the empty lot next to her home. She constantly educates others who view her garden and provides them with a wealth of knowledge on how to become environmental stewards. Wood also donated seeds for a new seed library located at the Northampton Branch, and she volunteers her time with community garden seed swaps.


Harris shared, “The enthusiasm she brings to every project is an inspiration.”

Burbank Elementary received the HCCC Innovative Education Award for their beautification project, recycling collection, energy conservation, water awareness, and environmental education. 

Teachers and students at Burbank cleaned out the school’s old garden area to create a new garden space. They used award money and funds from the PTA to build raised garden beds and compost bins.

The children and Powell-Riedl collect all of the school’s compostable waste from the breakfast, lunches and snacks and place them in the compost bins.

In the spring, they planted an herb and vegetable garden. During recess time the children watered and weeded and raked the area and when they returned this fall they had tomatoes, peppers, beans and herbs to try. Since the garden is located between the school pods all of Burbank’s classes pass by it to go to the cafeteria or to art and physical education, and the students are able to see the vegetable plants and flowers grow.

The area includes an outdoor stage/learning platform, chairs, and cushions to make the area more inviting and welcoming.