Vienna Vallazi and Nicholas (Nick) Gardener selling post cards and stamps at the VIIIs Store
Living in New York, the VIIIs often take advantage of the city and go on many field trips to museums and explore historic sights. On April 22nd, the VIIIs went to Sims, the world's largest electrical and electronics recovery and recycling company. There they saw conveyor belts and learned the cycle of where all the garbage goes in New York. They learned where each category of trash—like plastic, metal, and glass—go.
“When you recycle the stuff in different bins, the paper goes one place. Certain items, especially metal plastic and glass, go on a barge to Sims,” said Ram Nathirmal, VIIIsN. “It gets sorted, then made to 1000 pound bailed and gets taken to other places or the person buying the bail has to sign sheets.”
On the trip, the VIIIs learned how many recyclable materials get wasted. “Because we have never been there before, we got to learn about it. It is good to see how much gets recycled. We now can save and reuse materials,” Ram said.
The VIIIs witnessed the recycling process and learned about all the steps. The process starts with garbage getting transferred from trash bins to delivery trucks. From the trucks, the trash goes into barges or large cargo ships, which travel to Sims. At Sims, the garbage goes to bales that sort plastic, metal, and glass.
“If you had glass, the company buying could remove the labels melt it down and use the glass for whatever they want. For plastic that could probably melt it down and then the labels and ink is removed and it could be turned into another product. Metal is also melted,” said Ram.
The recycling process at Sims grabbed the VIIIs attention. Both groups traveled to the site together and shared the experience of witnessing recycling first-hand.
“Seeing the conveyor belts was the best part,” said Xian Ye (Edin) Cheng, VIIIsN.
“They have screens and cameras to monitor everything. They also have magnets taking the metal out and people making sure everything is sorted correctly which was cool,” said Ram.
The VIIIs also recently finished reading aloud Dickon Among the Lenape Indians, a book about a European who gets left behind to live with the Native Americans. So, using their new knowledge from the book, the VIIIs are writing their own books from the Native Americans’ perspectives about the time when Europeans came to America. They learned all about what the Native Americans ate, drank, how they hunted, what they did for fun and a lot of other minutiae details that would be useful when writing a book about them. While writing a book from the Native Americans perspectives and could be perceived as cultural appropriation Jay Frankel Justifies it.
Jay said, “It's hard to write from a historical perspective and that's not from your own culture, I think the VIIIs find inspiration from writing from a historical perspective and I think that City and Country takes great effort to let students be informed about different cultures in history. It's difficult for people to write in as a Native American just as it is difficult for writing in the Greeks or Egyptians I think the difference we enable that by looking at multiple sources primary sources and speaking to people from the Native American cultures. It's a very sensitive topic, historically, with the treatment of Native Americans, and I think our goal with all of it is to help students at City and Country be informed and sensitive to people who are going to be able to speak for themselves.”
Although everything seems to be going fine for the VIIIs, it is not all smooth sailing. The VIIIs Post Office is experiencing a major problem; students are drawing their own attendance slips instead of buying more. This is the same with stamps and those items make up a majority of what the VIIIs sell. If students and teachers continue to not buy merchandise such as attendance cards and stamps, the VIIIs will lose their profit.
“We did a Round Robin to tell students that people are making hand-drawn attendance cards, afterschool slips, and stamps so we asked them to come to the Post Office to buy them. If everybody started doing it then nobody would buy from the Post Office and we wouldn't make any money,” said Milo.
The VIIIs are learning to cope with many different things going on at once, like problems with the Post Office, learning about Henry Hudson and writing a book. The VIIIs have learned about recycling and are using their new knowledge to benefit the community. Even though there is a lot on the VIIIs plate right now, they are learning to recycle their problems into solutions. They have been working very hard all year learning about the Native Americans but now they are shifting gears and are learning the next chapter of history.