The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Columns

June 6, 2013

(With video) YES! Mankato West High School club making their ideas reality

Months ago, when my daughter told me about the latest student organization she was joining, I wasn’t quite sure what to think of this new club with the funny name.

“I signed up for Yes! club, Dad,” she said. Or something along those lines. She explained it was a science thing, and I figured she knew what she was doing. She wouldn’t join something unless it was worth her time.

Now the end of the year has come. And as I look back at the work my daughter has done with this Yes! club thing, I have to say I’m amazed.

Yes! — which stands for Youth Energy Summit — is sort of a parallel organization to Mankato West High School’s Science Club. Same kids, same vibe, similar mission. But this one’s a little different.

My daughter joins a lot of clubs and is a fairly involved high schooler. She thoroughly enjoys most of them. But even she admits that sometimes the work of a student group can be rather insular. A lot of times the things done in a club don’t go much beyond the club.

This year, in the Yes! club, it was different.

“Yes! club was amazing,” she said. “We actually did something.”

Indeed.

This year the Yes! Club had a pair of projects. One was the installation of a meter to measure the school’s energy use. A fine project, and one that will come into play in a big way in the future.

But the one that captured everyone’s attention in a big way — if not always in a positive way — was the lunch tray project.

The Yes! club kids, with the ever vigilant and watchful eye of teacher Eric Koser, dug deep into the details on this one to figure out if it would be a good idea — both economically and environmentally — if the school swapped out using plastic foam trays for lunch in favor of reusable, permanent trays.

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