July 24, 2017
Contest rewards high school seniors for creative litter prevention efforts
AUSTIN –Congratulations to three high school seniors who have been selected as the winners in the 2017 Don’t mess with Texas Scholarship contest. Jaideep Patil of Plano West Senior High School in Plano, Texas was chosen as the contest’s grand prize winner and received a $6,000 scholarship. Caitlin Boogs of Winston Churchill High School in San Antonio, Texas and Alexander Sholmire of Texas City High School in Texas City, Texas each received a $2,000 scholarship. The scholarships are presented annually in partnership with Keep Texas Beautiful. This year’s scholarships were sponsored by iHeartMedia and Q1 Media and recognize the achievements of high school seniors who demonstrate a leadership role in preventing litter in their schools and communities while building awareness about Don’t mess with Texas.
“We’re proud to offer the Don’t mess with Texas Scholarship Contest to support higher education in Texas and recognize outstanding students who are using their talents to beautify their communities through creative litter prevention tactics,” said Brenda Flores-Dollar, program administrator, Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) Don’t mess with Texas® campaign.
Grand prize winner Jaideep created two anti-litter organizations in his community to spearhead change: Green Team and the Plano West Sustainability and Conservation Club. The conservation club alone volunteered a total of 254 hours toward litter cleanup efforts at five different parks. Volunteers covered a total of 22 miles and collected 50 bags of trash, amounting to 1,000 pounds of litter. Recently, Jaideep gave a TEDx Plano talk on the impact of pollution and refuse on the community. Jaideep plans to attend the University of Texas at Austin to study Chemical Engineering.
As president of her school’s Interact Club, Caitlin encouraged the civic-minded group to reduce litter around the campus by engaging the school’s 3,000-plus student body. Under her leadership, the club created electronic advertising informational flyers on litter prevention and organized a cleanup project along a three-mile stretch of the Guadalupe River. Through this effort she, along with four other volunteers, picked up more 830 cans, 721 cigarette buds, 750 bottles, 25 diapers, and a plethora of other miscellaneous items; filling more than 20 thirty-gallon trash bags. Caitlin plans to attend the University of Texas at Austin to study Biochemistry.
Maintaining the cleanliness of the marsh/wetlands of the Texas Coastline has been a part of Alexander’s upbringing from the beginning. He and his family are regular participants in the annual “Trash Bash” along the Texas coast working to collect, dispose of, and recycle more than 54 tons of trash and 1.5 tons of recyclable materials. Alexander plans to attend Texas A&M College Station to study Political Science.
Don’t mess with Texas has been educating Texans about litter prevention since 1986. The campaign is the signature initiative for TxDOT’s litter prevention initiatives which include Adopt-a-Highway, a grassroots partnership with Keep Texas Beautiful and the community outreach and cleanup event — the Don’t Mess with Texas Trash-Off. For additional information on Don’t Mess with Texas, visit Dontmesswithtexas.org.
For media inquiries, contact TxDOT Media Relations at MediaRelations@txdot.gov or (512) 463-8700.
The Texas Department of Transportation is responsible for maintaining 80,000 miles of road and for supporting aviation, rail, and public transportation across the state. Through collaboration and leadership, we deliver a safe, reliable, and integrated transportation system that enables the movement of people and goods. Find out more at txdot.gov.