This post is part of our ACE’s Teacher of the Year blog series.
Eric is the winner of ACE’s National Teacher of the Year Award.
We are so excited to nominate Eric Magers, teacher of Spanish and Physical Education, from Manchester Essex Regional High School, for the ACE Teacher of the Year award.
During the past four years of ACE’s New England region, we have worked with over 300 high schools, delivering our assembly presentation and supporting dozens of student Action Teams as they take on green projects in their schools.
Students and teachers around the region are encouraging individual action, implementing sustainability projects, teaching other students about climate change and sharing best practices, collaborating with community groups, and integrating sustainability into their curriculum.
However, it’s rare to find a group of students and a teacher that are doing all of these things – and doing them all as student-led, adult-supported initiatives.
Eric Magers and his students are just such a group. Not only do they have an outstanding Green Team, supported by Eric after school, but they’ve also built on this success and created an honors-level course, the Green Scholars, through which students design and implement sustainability projects of their choosing with the support of a mentor.
Their holistic approach to sustainability was recently recognized by the state of Massachusetts when Manchester Regional High School was chosen this spring as the one public school in the state to advance to the national finals for the Green Ribbon Schools award contest!
We’ve presented at Manchester Essex on numerous occasions over the past four years and each time we see new evidence of the
students’ work, from signage everywhere reminding students how to recycle and explaining low-flow toilets, to plants throughout the hallways, to a full composting system in the cafeteria (the station was built by the students and another teacher!).
And the projects go well beyond the walls of their school. They recently supported another nearby school, Andover High School, as they designed and implemented their new composting program. They’re educating the middle and elementary school students, writing for the newspaper, supporting community organizations on local initiatives, and helping businesses go green. The students speak at nearly every green conference we attend.
In January, Eric’s students attended our Composting Training to teach students from even more ACE schools how they started their program and mentor them as they planned composting systems for their schools.
The confidence the students gain through working with Eric and the programs he’s designed, their eagerness to share their passion and advice, and their desire to see other schools succeed is exemplary.
We’re excited to support Eric by nominating him for this national award at ACE. We can’t wait to continue working with him and his students and watch as they expand their impact even further to be a catalyst for change in Massachusetts and beyond.