Community Papers

Savvy techie teaches green initiatives

St. Andrew’s Regional High School student Griffin Yundt creates videos that educate on environmental issues and is among the Green Team volunteers who help maintain the Garry Oak area, seen here, behind the school. - Don Denton/News staff
St. Andrew’s Regional High School student Griffin Yundt creates videos that educate on environmental issues and is among the Green Team volunteers who help maintain the Garry Oak area, seen here, behind the school.
— image credit: Don Denton/News staff

Griffin Yundt captures his classmates’ attention in under 40 seconds.

The St. Andrew’s Regional High school student uses video to inspire his peers and keep his school green while honing skills for his future.

“We try to give everyone a good laugh while helping promote the environment,” says the Green Team member.

Yundt and his cohorts are the St. Andrew’s Regional High School environmental team – without them it would not exist, says teacher Diane Chimich.

“He’s a real team player. There’s three of them that have done everything under the sun at this school for the last five years.”

Yundt, with Jared Saxby and Marcus Maryfield, trooped into Grade 8 and began to build a recycling program constantly evolving to add composting and plastics recycling.

“We also have a Garry oak meadow behind the school and we do a big cleanup there two times a year,” Yundt adds.

“They just go about their business running the program really independently. They believe in the environment. It’s not because they’re going to get recognition, or someone has told them to,”  Chimich says. “They’ve been an amazing group, we would not have the Garry oak forest in the condition it’s in without them.”

Yundt’s artistic eye and techno-ability also come in handy helping other programs including drama and fine arts.

“Griffin is a cheerful giver. He’s motivated by the joy of giving. He’s not ego driven,” says his homeroom teacher Danny Brock. “He’s the kind of fellow that is just always positive, has a smile on his face. If you ask him to do something he’s just happy to do it.”

Currently awaiting a response from Capilano University where he applied to the School of Motion Picture Arts, he’ll leave St. Andrew’s this June with a host of other leadership skills as well.

Brock co-ordinates retreats, where Yundt has served as a retreat leader six times over  the past two years.

“He’s a real leader, always happy to help. When help is needed he is there, he’s got a compassionate heart,” Brock says. “When he helps me, he thanks me as if I’ve done him good allowing him to help. When I should be thanking him.”

Being agreeable, polite and organized all add to his demeanour as leader by example. He’s spent time working at Our Place in Victoria and been a peer counsellor since Grade 9, which has its own rewards.

“Among other things, we’re there for any student who just needs to talk or help in certain subjects of schoolwork or more emotional angles,” he says. “I really enjoy working with people and helping them realize the potential in themselves. In high school it’s really easy to lose yourself.”

Utilizing his perspective, and presence as a leader, Yundt helps younger students navigate what can be murky waters of high school, hopefully avoiding the usual pitfalls.

“It’s really fun to, from my experience, help the younger grades see where they can improve and learn from our mistakes,” Yundt says. “We get a lot of opportunities to lead small groups. You get to bond on a much more personal level with the kids, and it’s important because you always need those personal times. That’s when the most personal growth can happen.”

The Grade 12 student serves as environmental representative on council, which automatically elevates a student’s visibility among the school population. It’s a role Yundt takes seriously, organizing assemblies and generally pitching in where needed. The big reward, he says, comes when different grade levels gel.

“That’s always so amazing to see,” Yundt says. “I just love seeing everyone happy. It’s nice after a really good Green Team video or retreat how things are going so much better.”

“Mostly he’s just a good role model. Soft spoken but committed with good virtues and values,” Brock says. “Whatever he does he’s doing for the right reasons, just the joy of it and seeing good things happen.”

See the videos at sarhsgreenteam.com.

 

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