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Second graders give up recess fun to help save the Earth

Posted at 2:03 PM, Dec 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-13 14:03:35-05

BEACHWOOD, Ohio — At just eight years old, Shin Hashiba is very aware of the world around him.

Despite being outside to have fun during recess, Shin couldn’t stop thinking about the trash he saw on his school playground.

“I really wasn't comfortable around it,” he said.

With desire to make a difference, Shin found inspiration by a mindset Monday exercise his teacher shared.

"How could we as individuals create change? How could we make the world a better place," said Ellen Margulies, Shin’s teacher.

Shin took that message to heart.

"If we work together, we fix something together," said Hashiba.

And within days of the lesson, Marguiles received a surprising e-mail with an attachment.

Marguiles said it contained "a beautiful PowerPoint from Shin about this club he wanted to start and how he could make a difference."

Yes, the second grader created a PowerPoint.

"When I was three, I learned it," Shin said.

Shin then set out to gain support for the "Save the Earth Club” at Bryden Elementary School in Beachwood.

"It's those moments as a teacher that you wake up and are like ,'Ah, this is what it's about,' like someone got it," said Marguiles.

Shin then went to each second-grade classroom, PowerPoint in tow, to encourage his classmates to join him.

"Sheets were overflowing with signatures," said Marguiles.

More than four dozen students, including Claire Matthews, give up their play time during recess each week to pick up trash.

"I'm feeling good because I am taking care of the Earth," Claire said.

Patrick Srithai is also part of the movement to make sure the school grounds are clean.

"Shin is basically my best friend and I thought saving the Earth was a good idea, so I had to join," Patrick said.

Shin provides the team of little litter collectors with pinchers to pick up what they find and buckets to transport it to where it all belongs.

The student's commitment to being the change they want to see is contagious.

I couldn't stand by and just watch Shin and his club members save the earth. I helped round up a couple of pieces of crumpled paper, an old mask, and a couple of wrappers.

With each haul of debris that makes it into the trash can, our community gets a little cleaner with the next generation leading the charge.

"These are sort of like life lessons that we want the children to take with them," said Marguiles.

As for how Shin is feeling since founding the club, he has noticed a difference.

"It's more comfortable out there," he said.