Article written by: Miles Olivetti, Junior at Wellesley High School and a member of the Evolutions Program

Wellesley High School’s Evolutions students work on different community-based partnership projects, aimed at solving problems facing our community.

This year, my team, including teacher Mindy Hoge, dedicated ourselves to stopping the use of single-use water bottles at Wellesley High School (WHS). We met with Sustainable Wellesley and Wellesley’s Natural Resources Commission to get a pulse on what was happening in our community.

Research we conducted showed that at WHS alone, hundreds of water bottles are thrown away daily.  This was due to lack of education, concern and habit. We wanted to educate students and thus create an understanding community that takes action.

To do so, we collected 288 plastic bottles thrown away at WHS during 3 lunch periods and turned them into an eye-catching, provocative monumental sculpture shaped in a giant ‘W’: representing Wellesley Raiders and water (drinking/oceans). This sculpture hopefully will have a lasting effect on students who saw it, showcasing a percentage of plastic we buy and discard daily.

In addition, we created infographics highlighting the pollution that plastic water bottles create in our oceans, as well as a survey about why people buy plastic water bottles. This survey showed that almost 65% of students would support a future single use water bottle ban.

Our final initiative was a “raffle”. The only requirement to enter was to show your reusable water bottle.  We advertised the initiative and it was very popular. We gave out multiple gift cards thanks to generous local businesses. We witnessed a significant increase in people bringing in and using reusable water bottles, meeting our goal of showing people how easy and important it is to bring one to school every day.

Educating our peers to think and act differently was impactful. We hope single use plastic reduction will continue in and around WHS.

Phyllis Theermann

SO many exciting sustainable-minded things happened last year in the Wellesley Public Schools including:

– Impressive senior projects on food waste, bike tours and green building signage at WHS
– 2 state wide food waste awards
– After school ecological program at Bates
– Middle School students grew and served their green house salads
– Lots of sustainable projects at the STEM EXPO
– 4 Wellesley High School Evolutions projects

In addition, Wellesley’s School Department has added another bus to incentivize more public transport, and reduce traffic.

Plus, Wellesley’s Facilities Management Department has moved to a sustainable cleaning initiative for all of the schools (plus, most municipal buildings). They have installed the Tennant Orbio os 3 Generators which uses water, water softener salt pellets, and electricity to create a multi-purpose cleaner and an EPA rated disinfectant. Many thanks to Michael Santangelo, Wellesley’s Custodial Services Manager, who worked on this and other important projects. We wish him luck on his new endeavors.

We are so proud of the students, teachers, administrators and parents involved in these initiatives and many more across the district.

Those interested in learning more about what is happening at the schools, and those with ideas for 2017/2018 school year, please email susan.morris@verizon.net.


Phyllis Theermann

Last week Wellesley High School Evolutions Students showcased their capstone projects at the Spring Expo.


The Evolutions program — an innovative school-within-a-school educational program open to juniors and seniors — launched this year.

Sustainable Wellesley was pleased to see some impressive sustainably minded projects including Kirstin Johnston’s The Effects of Climate Change on the Great Barrier Reef, Carina Delgado’s investigation into fashion’s high cost on the environment and her upcycled fashion creations, as well as Kassandra Rodriguez’s organic candles.

Lots of collaboration, interdisciplinary learning, and experiential learning happens in the evolutions program. Interested in learning more? Click Here.