BHS Insight

BHS Water Troubles

Grace Kilroy, Staff Writer

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Everyone knows the feeling: those awful days when you’re in desperate need of water and you’re forced to turn towards the “gross” school water bubblers. Current Barnstable High School senior Olivia Price doesn’t want to merely accept the water fountains we have now: she’s started an initiative to install filtered water refill stations around the school.

Various other schools across Massachusetts have incorporated these systems into their facilities and have saved hundreds to thousands of plastic water bottles in the process. Price has been working hand-in-hand with Director of Facilities, David Kanyock, and Barnstable High School science teacher David Gorrill. Price’s idea found its seed in her Advanced Placement Environmental Science class last year. Her motivation for this project was further compounded by her involvement in Barnstable’s National Honor Society. NHS members are expected to complete 30 hours of community service, while also participating in an “Individual Service Project.” These projects can take many forms—Price decided to come up with her own.

Gorrill’s classroom inspired Price’s brainchild. After the AP Environmental Science exam last year, the students were trying to come up with a project. Price and a few other students decided on a student-run initiative to install a refillable water station at the school. Price explained that, being a student and an athlete, the current water fountains were “unacceptable” to her. Unfortunately, they lack sufficient filtration and, due to old pipes, may have contaminants. Price said she “couldn’t stand to see [her] teammates and classmates drink water from the regular water fountains.” So, she decided to take action. After trips to visit colleges around the state that had already implemented this technology and a student survey,

Price and her peers set up some meetings. They made presentations to Principal Patrick Clark who, in turn, connected them with Kanyock. After confirming that this project was allowed by other contracts of facility companies in the school, serious conversations began.

Kanyock explained that they’ll be installing a refillable water station on the left side of the main cafeteria. The school recently received the new unit and should be installing it this month.  Though the initiative will begin in the high school Kanyock believes they’ll convert all schools over time. Gorrill expressed his hope that “it’ll be the start of a change of culture at Barnstable.” People will be able to make use of the town water supply, using filtered water and saving plastic from the landfills. Price, hopeful that a successor will take her place in this initiative once she graduates, wants people to remember “clean water is a big part of being healthy and safe.” The goal is to make these benefits available to students at all the Barnstable Public Schools. It will take time, effort, and funding, but Price, Gorrill, and Kanyock are determined to make that change.

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