NHS teacher sets 'green' example
by Celia Shortt
Newnan High School teacher Lindsey Kee is making a difference at Newnan High School and in the lives of her students. Kee is teaching sustainable environmental principles and how to leave as small a footprint on Earth as possible.
"I consider myself lucky to be able to come here each day and teach a curriculum that I truly believe in, while also supporting an amazing group of students," said Kee. "I was actually an Earth Science major in college and have tried my best to leave the smallest footprint I can on this Earth. I truly do have my dream job, and it's wonderful to be able to practice what I preach."
Kee supports her students and others at Newnan High School through her Earth Science, Environmental Science, and AP Environmental Science classes and the Environmental Club, which she founded.
"I started our Environmental Club in 2007 to promote recycling within our school," she said. "We are a school with over 2,000 students and over 200 faculty members who produce a lot of waste! I wanted to educate our students and staff on how easy recycling is and give them the opportunity to participate in the act of recycling."
Since then, students, teachers, school employees, large companies, and small businesses have joined in to help the club in its quest to recycle and reduce waste.
Elizabeth Abercrombie is a senior at Newnan High School, an active member of the Environmental Club, and a student in Kee's classes. She is involved with the club because she wants to help make the world a better place.
"In the Environmental Science class, Mrs. Kee made me realize how much damage people do to the Earth, but you can do so much to make it better," said Abercrombie.
Malcolm Rhodes is another student who has learned about the damage people can do to the Earth and ways to change, and even reverse, the deterioration.
"I knew the Earth was bad environmentally," he said. "In the [environmental science] class, Mrs. Kee shows us how to narrow down the air quality and how recycling helps the environment."
Rhodes said Mrs. Kee showed the class different areas of the world, pinpointing each place’s level of air pollution and how it affects the people living there. Those simple facts have encouraged Rhodes to live differently. Rhodes now recycles at his home and is working to encourage recycling within the company he is currently employed after school.
Kee describes Rhodes as a “big help with recycling” at the school.
Senior Jake Morgan joined Environmental Club after taking one of Kee’s classes.
“I enjoyed learning to be more aware of our world and how we can protect it,” Morgan said. “That is why I joined the club.”
His favorite part of the extracurricular group is helping to manage the recycle bins and clean up the campus and the community.
“It just makes us feel good when we’re doing stuff, like we’re doing our part,” said another senior, Carson Vaughn.
Vaughn is one of Ms Kee’s students and another active member of the Environmental Club.
Since its inception, the club has continued to grow and incorporate more elements. Local businesses and larger companies have donated various types of recycling bins the club now has scattered for use all across the school campus.
Another cherished activity of the Environmental Club is the caring of an organic garden, “Cougarcopia.” The garden is located at Newnan High School and is operated by students and club members.
“So far, we’ve had bountiful summer and fall crops, and it’s been awesome to see my students and club members pitch in and create something that we all can enjoy and even benefit our community,” said Kee.
Kee is pleased with the Environmental Club and high hopes for it in the years to come.
“I would love for our campus to be waste free, and I truly believe that it can be,” she said. “My ultimate goal of the club is for my students to leave here and incorporate environmentally sustainable principles that they have learned here into their future and educate others.”