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Halstead Elementary honored at Keep Texas Beautiful conference in Houston

Special to the Leader-Press 

Keep Texas Beautiful honored Hettie Halstead Elementary as the winner of the 2023 Sadie Ray Graff Educational Institution Award for its students work to preserve and enhance Texas’s environment and make their community stronger. 
The award is bestowed on only one school annually in Texas. It recognizes the efforts of educational institutions that provide instruction/programming to pre-K through college students to encourage youth involvement and promote the KTB mission through environmental education. 
The Hettie Halstead Elementary Student Council, guided by interventionists Christina Newberry, Heather Holden, and Sarah Schoonover, was honored at the KTB Annual Conference in Houston last week. 
The Beautify Texas Awards recognize the efforts of those working to enhance their community and protect the Lone Star State. These awards range in honoring extraordinary volunteers, professionals, youth, educators, businesses, local/civic governments, organizations, and specific projects and programs. 
“We are proud to honor and recognize Texans who are making a difference in our state,” said Suzanne Kho, Executive Director of Keep Texas Beautiful. “Their actions do more than protect the environment: they inspire community members to get involved and help us keep Texas beautiful. The Sadie Ray Graff Educational Institution Award for is one of ten categories and recognizes Hettie Halstead Elementary as being most deserving of this recognition.”
Five of the last six years, student council members have won the Fort Hood Recycle Bowl, and this year was no exception with more than 1,000 pounds of recyclable materials collected. The student council went on to win the Fort Hood Youth Environmental Ambassadors of the Year award for the second consecutive year which earned grant from Keep Copperas Cove Beautiful to beautify their campus. Students weeded beds in front of the school and planted flowers as well as trees on the campus. The students and advisers also adopted a roadway to keep clean through Keep Copperas Cove Beautiful’s A Spot/Park/Road program. 
“As advisers, we enjoyed watching the students work together to meet a challenge. They learned that recycling is important to be able to repurpose material and keep it out of landfills.  This project also helped bring awareness campus wide regaarding materials that are appropriate to recycle and materials that are not appropriate to recycle,” Newberry said. “Students also learned to work together to achieve a common goal for the good of the campus and environment.” 
For more than 20 years, Keep Texas Beautiful has recognized extraordinary Texans and Texas institutions that are committed to keeping Texas beautiful. Today, these awards serve as a continued reminder of the hard work and dedication of our supporters across the state.

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