Washington, DC Trip

June 2014
Arriving in Washington, DC

Five high achieving TCHS Service Learning Council students were selected as participants of the Annual COMPACT Washington, DC Trip. Paula, Alaina, Nhu, Adrian and Amaris joined Mrs. Doromal and 14 COMPACT students for a five-day trip to Washington, DC.

The students visited many exciting sites, including monuments, the Smithsonian museums, Mount Vernon, the White House, Bolling Air Force Base, the Ford Theater, Dance Place, and the Arlington Cemetery. They also visited some malls and restaurants.

The highlight of the trip was a visit to the Supreme Court to meet with COMPACT friend, Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas. He shared inspirational stories and took the time to talk to each of the students about their future plans.

Students posed with Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas

The Changing of the Guard at Arlington Cemetery

Adrian and Nhu at the Lincoln Memorial standing by the
reflection pool towards the Washington Monument.
At the Officer's Club, Bolling Air Force Base

An African Celebration at Dance Place
The Martin Luther King, Jr. Monument

Adrian and Mr. Fuller posed by the Eleanor Roosevelt Monument

Lincoln Memorial

Lany and Mr. Fuller, the Executive Director of COMPACT


May 2014


The TCHS Service Learning Council was invited to host the activities and games for the students from OCPS schools who were being recognized for their school’s recycling efforts at the 2nd Annual OCPS Green Day Event held at Showalter Field in Winter Park.

We created games and activities to teach and entertain students about environmental issues. Plastic water bottle bowling, memory games made from water bottle caps, egg carton caterpillars, trash relay races, and life-size environmental board games. Students enjoyed getting their faces painted with an environmental theme.

Orlando and Orange County environmental organizations and agencies promoted the environment through booths and displays that promoted environmental stewardship.

Some photos of the event:
Making egg carton caterpillars

Trying on up-cycled clothing and accessories
Playing the endangered species memory game

The life-size environmental board game

water bottle bowling

Anyone for Earth ball?
Back to Nature Wildlife had displays and animals

Some of our recycled fashions and products

Thank You COMPACT Mentors!

May 2015
UCF Legacy mentors with TCHS COMPACT Mentor of the Year
Jordan Charles (3rd from right, back row) pose with
some of the TCHS COMPACT students.
We want to recognize the many COMPACT mentors from the University of Central Florida who served our COMPACT students with valuable advice, academic tutoring, and moral support throughout the school year.  Mentors came from two programs, the UCF Legacy Leadership and Mentoring Program and the UCF chapter of I am That Girl.

Students from I Am That Girl led an inter-active workshop that focused on building positive attitude and self-esteem.

Jordan Charles, a former TCHS student and COMPACT Washington, DC Trip winner, was the one mentor who went above and beyond this year.  Jordan acted as an inspiration to her mentee who demonstrated an improvement in grades and attitude as a result of Jordan's guidance. Jordan provided support not only for her mentee, but for the entire COMPACT class.

In February Jordan brought in the UCF Legacy Leadership and Mentoring Program team to give an outstanding workshop for the students. They provided inspirational stories, valuable college information and even had t-shirts and prizes for the girls.

We are pleased to announce that Jordan Charles was selected as the Mentor of the Year for TCHS! She will receive recognition at the COMPACT Banquet in September 2014.

Thank you to every mentor who gave of their time and opened their hearts to TCHS COMPACT students this school year.

Additionally, we want to thank Mr. Tony Bolyard, UCF graduate Dana Ahmad and Mrs. JoLynn Schall for their dedication and support of the COMPACT and Service Learning Academy classes.

Mentoring is a brain to pick, an ear to listen, and 

a push in the right direction." - John Crosby

Earth Day Every Day!

April 2014

Student-made platform shoes (size 6) made from 
denim jeans, cardboard, styrofoam layers, bottle 
caps, and aluminum sprite cans.

Ecological Footprint
Service Learning Council students conduct two major environmental service projects each year –Green Holiday in December and Earth Day in April.

This year students connected the projects through 'before and after' Ecological Footprint Calculations.

In December, after immersion in an environmental unit, students calculated their ecological footprints. (You can too! Go to this link: http://www.myfootprint.org/ ) Students' calculations indicated a high usage of planetary resources, so they brainstormed and explored ways that they could reduce their individual footprints in four categories: food, shelter, mobility and goods and services. Students estimated how many planets they could reduce their footprints if they followed an ecological plan.

Students committed to eating locally produced food, less meat, gardening, and not using plastic water bottles. They took steps to conserve water and energy and to use green cleaning products. Instead of driving every day, they carpooled, biked, and walked. They recycled, composted, up-cycled, bought items with less packaging and made ecological consumer decisions. In weekly logs students recorded and reflected on their daily ecological actions.

Finally, in April students recalculated their ecological footprints to see if their plan worked in reducing their ecological footprint. Every student was successful in reducing his/her ecological footprint. Some exceeded their predictions.

Not only did students make a conscious effort to reduce their ecological footprints, they got their families and friends involved too!

Calculate your ecological footprint and then take steps to reduce it. Use this log to record your progress:
(click to enlarge)

Some student reflections on their ecological footprint reduction:
"I feel my personal plan was successful in reducing my ecological footprint because it helped me organize ways of how I was going to reduce my resources on a daily basis. I went down two Earths like I hypothesized on my planning sheet."
"I started eating less meat and my food footprint went down by 40%!" 
"For mobility I generally took my bike for short distances and car pooled for longer distances."  
"I can conclude from my new calculations that my personal planning sheet helped me to reduce my ecological footprint. I am now a greener human being." 
"I would tell others trying to reduce their footprints to stop using paper plates and paper towels. Get a reusable water bottle instead of buying bottled water."  
"Some advice I would give to other students trying to reduce their footprints is to start off small when you are completing your green activities. Do at least one or two activities the same each day and then after a week add more so you are not overwhelmed with too many activities. Soon it becomes habit."
Earth Day

Earth Day featured demonstrations, games, activities, up-cycled products, an ecological footprint booth and the 4th Annual Trash-In Fashion Show.  Students designed fashion and accessories from trash. A beach bag made from a kite, skirts from newspaper, trash bags and magazine pages, a purse made from a plastic dog food bag, a backpack woven from Target bags, and other original designs.

We made  posters and bulletin boards advocating environmental stewardship: water and energy conservation tips, habitat protection, recycling tips, specifics about aluminum and plastic recycling, how to calculate your ecological footprint, and more.

Students enjoyed the life-size environmental board game and face painting booth. Our environmental partner, the YAYAs joined us to promote environmental stewardship in the fields and justice for our farm workers.

The life size environmental game. Go back if
you land on  a space that wastes resources and
move ahead if you land on space to conserve!
Ashley modeled Kara's beautiful vest
made from plastic bags and wrappers

Ashley models a paper bag shirt made by
Christian (Center)
poses with Trash-in Fashion
Show MCs Jordan (left) and Adrian.

Lots of up-cycled things for sale
Sara (left ) and Paula rock newspaper and
magazine skirts on the
green carpet while Matt looks on.

Signing up at the YAYA booth

Our friends the YAYAs!

CANtastic: You CAN end hunger!

February 2014

During a month of activities that focused on migrant farm workers who put the food on our tables and hunger in Central Florida, service learning students sponsored the Fourth Annual CANtastic food drive and sculpture contest in February. Seven TCHS clubs participated to collect over 2,400 cans of food. The donations were divided between the migrant farm worker families, Health Care Center for the Homeless and the TCHS Food Pantry.

PacMan eating hunger by SLC students
Teams work on their can designs

Asian Club
Cans ready to sculpt
Skeleton by Mrs. Cestero's Art Class
The Beta Club's Homeless Group's Design
Students also hosted farm workers and advocates from the Coalition of Immokalee Farm Workers and YAYA, the Youth and Adult Farmworker Ministry. The groups spoke to 7 classes. Over 180 service learning students learned about the need for laws regulating child labor in the agricultural industry, and the economic, social and political plight of the state’s migrant farm workers.

The advocates from the Coalition of Immokalee Farm Workers shared clips from a film, Food Chains, that is scheduled to premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival in April 2014. The film depicts the conditions in Florida fields and outlines the tenets of the Fair Food Program.

Lifting a 30 lb. bucket of tomatoes is not easy.
Migrant workers earn over $.50 per bucket. They
would have to pick over 2 tons of tomatoes in a
day to earn minimum wage.

YAYA's presented a lesson that
outlined the plight of the farm workers and
what can be done to improve working conditions.

YAYAs shared their experiences in advocating for
migrant workers' rights.
Some service learning students and their families also participated in the Fair Food and March for Justice rally in Lakeland, Florida to support fair wages for farm workers. Over 1,000 marcher called for justice in the fields.

All service learning students participated in the 2nd Harvest Food Bank Hunger simulation. The students selected an avatar and went through various scenarios to try to get enough food for themselves and their families with limited funds.

Green Holiday!

December 2013

Up-cycle, recycle and conserve energy during the holiday season!

The 6th Annual Green Holiday event was fun and educational! We set up booths for TCHS students to create ornaments and holiday decorations out of aluminum soda cans, plastic bottles and paper from magazines. We showed fellow students how to up-cycle maps, paper bags and newspaper to wrap gifts. We also had displays that taught about recycling aluminum, conserving energy with LED lights, how to compute your ecological footprint, and how to make ornaments from aluminum, paper, and plastic items like drinking straws, water bottles and spoons.

During December service learning students made ornaments from magazines, Capri Sun pouches, plastic products, cardboard, bottle caps and more. We sponsored a contest to see who could make the most creative and appealing ornament or decoration from up-cycled materials. Students made reindeer from cork stoppers and wire; gifts bags from woven plastic coke bottle labels; paper stars from magazines; and snow globes from glass jars and up-cycled decorations.

A gift bag made from up-cycled  plastic Coke labels and
a reindeer from corks and wire.
We updated our life-size board game that teaches how to have an environmentally friendly holiday. What's the best way to recycle a Christmas tree? What are the most environmentally friendly holiday lights? What can you up-cycle to make holiday decorations, gift tags, wrapping paper and presents?

The American Sign Language students added to the festivities by signing holiday songs. The SGA provided the sound system and DJ attracting more students to the event.

ASL students signed holiday songs.
What's Your Ecological Footprint?
During our studies, as service learning students we got to determine our ecological footprints. An ecological footprint determines your individual impact on the environment. How much land and sea do you use to sustain your life style? How does your waste impact the environment? You can find out by taking the Ecological Footprint Quiz at http://www.myfootprint.org/.

Service Learning Council students analyzed their ecological footprints and created a plan to reduce them. We will be car pooling more, developing recycling plans for our households, bicycling instead of driving, and making a conscious effort to turn off lights and reduce water consumption. A few of us are even starting small gardens. Every week we will be logging our environmental efforts and activities. On Earth Day in April 2014, we will retake the ecological footprint quiz to see if our efforts had an impact on reducing our footprints. We invite you to join us in this activity!

Farm Worker Advocates Bring Life to Curriculum

November 2013

Students created this paper quilt after seeing the Apopka Farmworker's quilt.
The service learning classes were selected to pilot the curriculum created by the  Farmworker Association of Apopka and their Americorps Vista workers. Students took a look at farmworker issues studying Cesar Chavez, the founder of the United Farm Worker's union and current issues impacting migrant farmworkers. We were surprised to learn that the people who put food on our tables do not have enough to eat.

To conclude our unit, for two amazing days we had several farm worker advocates share interactive lessons to teach the plight and issues of Central Florida's farmworkers. The lessons were overseen by Jeannie Economos who is involved in social justice aspects of the farmworkers, as well as, the impact of pesticides on farm workers. Caroline St. Clair from the Farmworker Association of Apopka led the first day of lessons.

We learned that chemicals and pesticides not only poisoned Lake Apopka, but harmed many of the farmworkers who were exposed to them. We learned how low the wages are too low for the difficult work that farmworkers do. Minimum wage and child labor laws do not apply to the agricultural industry. We also got to experience first hand how difficult it is to pick oranges. Ms. Economos brought a sack that holds 135 pounds of oranges. Try to carry that on a ladder!

The Service Learning Council thanks all of the great teachers and advocates who came to share their curriculum with us. It was educational and fun!

SLC students look at the beautiful memorial quilt that was
created by Apopka farmworkers to tell their story.
Learn more at the
Lake Apopka Farmworker Memorial Quilt site.

Posing with the quilt.

Ms. Economos, Caroline St. Clair and Mrs. D.
look at student surveys.