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The Official Blog of the 2009 Sustainability Decathlon

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An interview with Amanda, senior at Presentation High School

Saturday, Apr. 11, 2009

Interview by Laura Farley, Mentor for Presentation High School

Why are you participating in the Sustainability Decathlon?
Our school is involved in the Decathlon because our environmental club (SEAS) moderator, Ms. Rahmig, told us that Santa Clara was interested in entering us in an environmental challenge, and it would be a good idea if our club got involved to represent our school. I am participating because I try to live an environmentally friendly lifestyle and I want others on campus to have a reason to as well. To me, a lot of it has to do with attitude and awareness and I want to improve both of these on my school campus. We are the people of the future, and I want to share the opportunities we have to make it a cleaner future with the rest of my school.

What is your favorite decathlon category? Why?
I think my favorite categories are those that fall under "Communication". To me, communication/education is a very important part, and often the most influential step, in making change for the better. Our projects for the decathlon under these categories, such as our school Earth Day celebration and our Garbage Clean-Up Day, are just some of the many ways in which we are trying to communicate to the rest of the school and bring awareness to our goals for a better future.

What has been your biggest challenge in the Sustainability Decathlon so far?
I think the biggest challenge is probably staying organized with all the different categories we are involved in. We have a good number of people involved in the Decathlon with all their good ideas for how we can contribute to a cleaner and more sustainable environment. I think another challenge we have is narrowing down the ideas we have into feasible plans of action. It is a good challenge, as it’s awesome that we have a surplus of ideas and participation.

What have you learned from participating in the Sustainability Decathlon?
As President of our environmental club, I am very impressed with the dedication of our members to the decathlon. I have learned that this is just the beginning. I am a senior this year, and I wish that I had more time to work on the more long-term projects we are starting for the Sustainability Decathlon. I am quite proud of all of us, as I think the Sustainability Decathlon has furthered us as a club, and has given us a challenge and a means of focus for our ideas. I think that from here, our club will just be moving forward, and hopefully have more influence in our school community on creating a greener campus.

What career paths are you exploring?
Next year, I will be attending UC Davis. (Yay! My top choice!) I have determined that I will not be satisfied in life if I do not have a career that is "environmentally friendly.” I am intrigued by biology and the way in which we as humans interact with the rest of our world. Over the summer, I interned at the San Mateo Mosquito Abatement District, and I was so impressed and inspired by the way in which the biologists work. They get to interact with people, their pests, and the environment, and find solutions in which all of them can stay balanced. I think I might have a future in vector biology, public health or epidemiology, with focus on how our environment affects us as humans, how humans affect the environment, and the consequences of such.

What do you do for fun?
Well, if I have spare time on the weekends, I hang out with my family, friends, or boyfriend. I like going to the movies, or just hanging out at home and watching one...I can't wait for the Harry Potter movie! I'm most excited for X-MEN ORIGINS (I am obsessed with the X-men movies, but more importantly, Hugh Jackman as Wolverine). I also LOVE swimming. Yes, practice can sometimes be a drag at the end of a long school day, but in reality, swimming and swim team is SO FUN, and is definitely the highlight of my high school career.

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