By Chad Felton, The News-Herald
Posted: 02/04/18, 4:15 PM EST | Updated: 1 day ago
It took Perry High School senior Rebecca Waggel about a month to conceive her idea to make a difference in the community. Now a reality, it’s already yielding solid results.
Dually motivated by completing her Girl Scout Gold Award project and her desire to impact the environment, Waggel came up with providing a water filling station to be installed in her school’s cafeteria. The aim of her project is to eliminate the excessive usage of disposable plastic water bottles.
With the newly installed station, Waggel has immediately seen measurable results, as students and staff have used her fountain to fill their personal water bottles numerous times, eliminating waste from 234 disposable bottles as of Feb. 2.
“I installed the water bottle filling station in order for people to be able to easily refill their plastic bottles bought from the cafeteria and other water bottles from home,” she said. “I wanted to reduce the amount of plastic because of the amount of garbage on the roads in Perry. I also noticed that fellow students at my school were having a hard time filling up their water bottles in the regular drinking fountains and wanted to help them.”
Waggel’s machine, which totaled $974.56, will remain in the cafeteria, cared for by the school’s maintenance department after she graduates.
The requirements of Waggel’s seven-step project consisted of identifying an issue in the community and taking action, including research, recruiting the help of others and creating a plan that achieved quantifiable community impact. The results also would need to educate and inspire others.
Starting in March 2017, Waggel spent a total of 93 hours on her project. She researched filtration systems that would be practical for student use. Affordability and minimal maintenance also were factors in her study.
“The research was very time consuming and so was the fundraising,” she said. “I asked my neighbors if they had anything they would like to donate for a garage sale to help fund my project.
“As for putting in the machine, I needed to consult with maintenance at Perry Local Schools along with Principal (Todd) Porcello in order for this to happen. I also attended a Board of Education meeting in September 2017.”
Waggel has been a member of Perry Girl Scout Troop 71111 since the first grade. The award represents the highest achievement in Girl Scouts.
Since the station’s installation, people have been continuously thanking and congratulating Waggel, a fact that makes her feel proud, she said.
“The administration was thrilled with the idea of my project. They, too, knew the difficulties of trying to refill their bottles in the regular fountains. They wanted to do anything they needed to do in order for me to complete it. Anything is possible with a little hard work and communication with others.”
Porcello said Waggel’s action steps to make the installation possible were impressive and brought about an excellent and authentic learning opportunity.
“We are proud of Rebecca for the initiative she took to bring about positive change to our school, community and overall health,” Porcello added.
After she graduates, Waggel will attend Stautzenberger College and plans to study ultrasound technology.