The Don’t mess with Texas® Scholarship recognizes the achievements of high school seniors who have taken leadership roles to prevent litter in their schools and/or communities and build awareness of the Don’t mess with Texas initiative. The Scholarship is presented in partnership with Keep Texas Beautiful and made possible by Forestar.
To all the high school students who applied for the 2015 Scholarship, thank you! More than 1,456 applications were submitted. Please see below for this year’s winners and their projects.
Grand Prize Winner
Marisol Martinez, Collegiate High School, Corpus Christi, Texas
Marisol launched a drive in her barrio to encourage friends and neighbors to keep their neighborhood clean. She rallied community pride by creating a brochure and personally reaching out to neighbors about recycling and throwing away their trash, not littering. Appreciation for the environment and the value of keeping Texas clean grew from neighbor to neighbor. This support inspired Marisol and other youth to create a community garden that showcases their neighborhood in a positive way.
Jaclyn Muniz, William J. Brennan High School, San Antonio, Texas
After learning that sea turtles die from ingesting plastic bags and debris littered by humans, Jaclyn organized a student group to pick up litter on Texas beaches. She started a chapter of Tidy up the Tides at her high school, adopted a mile of beach on South Padre Island, and brought together 95 volunteers to pick up 75 bags of trash. The organization continues to grow within her San Antonio community, reducing trash and inspiring new members to become lifelong conservationists.
Charlotte Lichtenheld, McCallum High School, Austin, Texas
For her Girl Scout Gold Award Project, Charlotte tackled a litter problem at Lamar Middle School by creating a recycling program and educating students and teachers about its benefits. She worked with the local PTA to procure recycling bins, and she engineered a user-friendly recycling dumpster ramp. By involving staff, fellow students, and their families, Charlotte established a sustainable recycling program that keeps Lamar Middle School litter-free.
Videos provided by Forestar.