Sustaining Water Systems – Your Dangerous Waste
Honorable Mention



2020 High School Winners

2020 Sustaining Water Systems


By: Rebecca Possidel, Denise Rubenstein and Samantha Ramirez

Valley Stream South High School
Valley Stream, New York


Rebecca, Denise and Samantha are seniors at Valley Stream South High School in Valley Stream, New York. Rebecca described Valley Stream as a very diverse community, “I don’t think there is anything like the town we live in because of the diversity and cultures living here.” The group found out about the contest when it was assigned in their AP Environmental Science class and decided to team up because they’re all close friends who work well together. The group decided to create a video for the sustaining water systems topic during a brainstorm as they discussed issues facing society. Technology use came up followed by questions such as, “once we upgrade our phone, or laptop, what happens to the old one?” Rebecca shared that, although, they had discussed population and its impacts on the environment, they hadn’t quite made the connection to how many materials go into making the electronics we all use.

The trio knew they wanted to do something ‘out of the box’ with their video, and that is how they came up with the idea to film at a scrap yard. “We live 20 minutes away from a place where we could actually go and experience where people dump their used electronics,” shared Rebecca. Denise and Rebecca took a trip to the scrap yard in order to show people where things are actually going and how it impacts the environment. This allowed the group to actually show runoff and show the discarded products. The toughest part of the contest was editing their film in order to make it flow. Their advice for future contest participants, “Have fun! This project was one of the best experiences of my senior year because I worked with some of my best friends and we did something new. Don’t think that you’re limited by what you have available, you can always think and be creative.”

Rebecca plays violin in the school orchestra and is the secretary of the Cultural Society. She’s also the vice president of the Falcon Report, the school’s news show, which came in handy for this project. Denise is the president of the school theater troop and has been the lead in the school’s annual musical for the last couple of years and also participates in the school trivia team, ‘Its Academic’. Samantha is very passionate about music and is in the Metropolitan Youth orchestra, the Chamber orchestra, and in the schools acapella group. She is a fellow officer in Cultural Society.