Alachua, Fla. – The art projects were distinct from most others. Students at Bhaktivedanta Academy had to use pieces of trash to create artwork weighing less than 50 pounds.
The project, Trashformations, was part of the 19th-annual student recycled art competition sponsored by the Alachua County Commission.
Students at the academy, which is rooted in the Hindu faith, worked tirelessly and won first place for their aquarium they built entirely out of discarded materials. They also garnered a third-place award for a city built out of similar material.
But the students did not complete the project to win awards or receive course credit. They wanted to bring awareness to the community of the need to recycle.
This was not their first community service project. Students at the academy have also collected food items and necessities for families in need, while others visited homebound individuals. Several students recently baked cupcakes, raising $296 for families in Puerto Rico.
David Aguilera, the school’s principal, said community projects are a central part of the Hare Krishna faith. The academy is open to students from diverse religious backgrounds, and it works to instill tenets like community service in all its students.
“The basic principle of Krishna Consciousness is we all have a relationship with God,” he said. “Our life purpose is to reestablish that relationship in loving service.”The PreK-10th-grade school also teaches students the same subjects as public schools: math, science, English and social studies. Students learn both Hindu creationism and Western biology, including evolution. For students in Pre-K through sixth grade, the school provides a Montessori program, a holistic method of learning based on meeting the individual needs of students academically, socially, spiritually and physically. It emphasizes self-directed activity and hands-on learning.
Bhaktivedanta Academy students achieve-above average results on Measures of Academic Progress assessments, which is approved by the Florida Department of Education to act as a required standardized test for students who use school choice scholarships.academy ] [ alachua ] [ bhaktivedanta ] [ education ] [ florida ] [ montessori ]