"We will be the children of yesterday and the leaders of tomorrow," are the telling words to a song sung by an outstanding group of Salt Lake students.
The fifth- and sixth-graders at Jackson Elementary School sang the song Thursday in honor of guests who came bearing gifts. Officials of USPCI, a company dealing in high-level waste disposal, were at the school to present a check for $2,300 to the students.The money will help get the youngsters to Washington, D.C., where they will be honored Nov. 15 by the Environmental Protection Agency as recipients of the President's Environmental Youth Award.
The award recognizes outstanding work done by the Jackson students to clean up their own neighborhood and to further the cause of environmental responsibility in general.
Two years ago, the school's Extended Learning Program undertook a project to encourage clean-up of a site where barrels of toxic waste had been abandoned. They then took their cause to the Legislature, asking for establishment of a state clean-up fund to deal with other unauthorized waste sites.
Their efforts were recognized earlier this year in a national youth problem-solving program. The children and teacher Barbara Lewis went to Ann Arbor, Mich., to receive that award.
Their trip to Washington, D.C., is being partly paid for by the EPA, partly by their own fund-raising efforts and, with the receipt of the matching check Wednesday, by USPCI, which operates a disposal facility in Tooele County.
Jack L. Messman, USPCI chief executive officer, told the students they "deserve all the support and recognition you're getting. I admire your process in addressing a problem."
Jackson Principal Pete Gallegos, several local legislators and parents applauded the check presentation.
Ten children and Lewis will spend three days in the nation's capital, sightseeing and meeting environmental and political leaders. They expect to have lunch with Nancy Reagan.