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The Panther Press

Earth Day at San Domenico: Celebrating our planet’s call to action

“What does Earth Day mean to you?” asked Shelly Flint, the director of sustainability at San Domenico, to an audience of hundreds of students, as they joined her in celebrating Earth Day on our campus this Thursday, April 18. As the sun generously shone down on Kesterson field, students filled the space with their enthusiasm and laughter. A light breeze uplifted our spirits and sharp, tall redwoods began to soften with love into our green surroundings. The celebration began with an introduction from Flint about the social justice history associated with Earth Day and a reflection of her own first Earth Day in Washington D.C. 

“Earth Day is not just a date on the calendar,” Flint said. “It is a global movement, a call to action.”

The global theme for Earth Day around the world this year is planet vs. plastic, highlighting the negative impact of plastic on our planet and climate change. In order to bring awareness about plastic usage and its inequitable effect all around the world, middle school and lower school students presented reflections. 

“We can strive to do our part in bringing equity to all,” a middle school student said while presenting the reflection. 

After listening intently to the reflections, the audience received the blessings of Sister Gervaise Valpey.  

“We’re humbled by the space we’re given,” Sister Gervaise said. “Unless the earth is alive, we won’t be alive.” 

The lower school choir then serenaded the crowd with “Garden Song” by David Mallet. 

“Inch by inch, row by row, gonna let this planet grow,” they sang. 

This was only the beginning of an afternoon that reflected phenomenal energy. The efforts put in by the Green Team, the Social Justice Club and the juniors through their social justice class, and not to forget all of their teachers, advisors and mentors, spoke for themselves. 

The social justice teacher at San Domenico, Kathy Hagee, had been spreading awareness around Earth Day activities along with Flint, Ashley Langford — the garden’s teacher — and several other faculty members. 

“This is really personal for me today because the junior class, the social justice students, are the ones anchoring it,” Hagee said. “As I see all of their hard work and their stewardship towards our community, towards the earth and environmental issues, I am joyfully grateful to the junior class for trusting me with the process, digging in and just doing it. 

They embraced the challenge and it is pretty amazing.”

The assembly was followed by the first session of the event. Students were free to explore booths set up by different clubs and the junior class. The booths were divided by different sectors of environmental injustices. With a plethora of authentic structures, different booths touched upon separate but extremely crucial topics. 

Map your fashion, led by juniors Molly Ellis and Ella Liu Jones, mapped out the fast fashion industry across the world through an interactive game while the Water Filtration and Distillation Experiment Station, led by Sierra Nadkarni, Hannah Davis and Kate and Jacob Ellis, presented a more experimental educational experience. The creative idea of using a paper passport, bubbles and the all time tested and tried bribery of ice cream to motivate students to attend a variety of booths was not only successful, but also complimented the aura of joy in which the student body was engulfed throughout. 

Along with the different types of booths, there were other interactive and educational experiences set up by individuals from outside San Domenico as well. From mindfulness and yoga to the sound bath, with musician and producer, Joss Jaffe, the options of activities all fit the aesthetic of the celebration. 

The sound bath, immersing students with vocals by Jaffe and different instruments, was a relaxing experience, one that opens a heavenly pathway between your ears and your soul. In addition, students had the opportunity to interact with Gary Koffler, affiliate partner at Spacialgrow, an educational platform that provides “immersive STEM education.” Koffler has been working in his field for 12 years and emphasized the importance of hydroponics and aquaponics in the future of farming. 

During the second half of the afternoon, all grades attended separate sessions and activities. The sophomores and seniors had the pleasure of watching “2040,” a film that underlines the exigency of climate action, directed by and starring Damon Gameau, in the Carol Franc Buck Hall of the Arts. 

As the event came to a close, students did not only leave their respective event spaces with sustainability and climate change on their minds, but also love and compassion for nature. The students who participated in the event proved that we, as a generation, are capable of bringing about change for our environment and fueled the hope that the generations above have from us. 

“Cultivating this new innovative student venture embodies our commitment to Earth Day, showcasing the power of youth to drive meaningful change. We couldn’t be more proud of their hard work!” Langford said. 

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About the Contributors
Aarya Chowdhry
Aarya Chowdhry, Head Copy Editor
Hello! I am a senior at San Domenico School and a contributor to The Panther Press. I have a passion for learning and researching. I love writing about women's rights and social justice. Other than that, I am a fan of badminton, YAF novels and writing poetry!
Merritt Sellers
Merritt Sellers, Head Illustrator/Social Media Manager/Reporter
Merritt Sellers is a sophomore at San Domenico and a contributor of The Panther Press. She enjoys sailing, sewing, and art.

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