Elaine Makarevich has been teaching at Stillwater Elementary School for the past 30 years.
During that time, she has been teaching Enrichment, Gifted & Talent programs to children from kindergarten to grade 6 throughout the school and has seen the school gardens start and come to fruition a few years ago. . Her most recent project was to spearhead Cafeteria Connection. This is a recycling program designed to add bins and reminders to the cafeteria and for older students to teach younger students where to go for recyclables.
“I wrote last year the grant we received and the project was launched,” Makarevich said. “We are now in his second year and the program is in full swing. Mark Maruska of Gravity Design Works has donated thousands of dollars of materials and hours of his and his crew’s time. And we are very fortunate to have added some great murals and signs to our cafeteria.”
Goals of this program include opportunities for students to design trash cans, layouts, signs, peer education, and daily routines. This is from the start of recyclables to delivery to the recycling center in the town of Stillwater.
“Undoubtedly, Cafeteria Connection has delivered positive results for Stillwater students, staff and ultimately the world,” Makarevich said.
6th grade teaches younger children which bins to put recyclables in. Her current 6th grade group moves to a new group of leaders each grade and rotates through the grade.
“I love helping younger kids recycle,” said sixth grader Gia Lupo. “It’s like being a teacher.”
Both of her parents are educators, so the apple never strays far from the tree.
“It’s great to show kids who don’t know where to put things,” said Meike Koch, another sixth-grade member of the project.
Joint project member Jaeson Hamczyk said he enjoys being a leader, helping younger children manage recycling.
Newton-based Gravity Design Works was happy to donate materials and time.
Makarevich said he donated all of his conceptualization and design time to the project. This consisted of over 30 hours of his time spent on writing, messaging, and graphics. It also contains all final settings. For production costs, he was donated $3,750, with no shipping and installation costs.
“It’s an honor to give back to the schools that each of my children went to,” Maruska said. “I loved coming up with ideas that worked. [Makarevich] Raise awareness of her recycling program and make it happen. This has been as important as any other client or project we work on. Perhaps even more important, because those young minds are very impressionable. I look forward to the next call from Stillwater School. ”