Waste Disposal
1st Place



2020 Middle School Winners

2020 Sustaining Water Systems


By: Devin Sullivan and Kai-Yu Zhang

Edith C. Baker School
Brookline, Massachusetts


Devin and Kai-Yu are 7th graders at Edith C. Baker School in Brookline, MA. The contest was presented to them as an optional assignment. Devin decided she wanted to participate and found another classmate, Kai-Yu, who was also interested in learning more about waste disposal and its impacts on water systems. For Devin and Kai-Yu, their decision to research and ultimately create a video about waste disposal was inspired by curiosity, Devin shared, “I felt like I didn’t know that much about water systems and where garbage and recycling actually goes and ends up.” For Devin, she was learning by way of researching for the video and was able to make the connection that with so many people in the world we all contribute mass amounts of waste.

This was Devin’s first time foray into filmmaking. She discovered a passion for video editing and shared that, “I find it very calming to edit things. When you have everything in place, it is very satisfying.” The most challenging part of the video making process was recording their script. Unfortunately, on the day that the pair was scheduled to record they were both sick and had to power through. For Devin, the video contest enabled her learning and she shared that, “Working on a project and research helps me learn so much rather than just reading.” In the future she hopes to learn more about agriculture. Their advice for future participants is to be flexible and to get and take feedback from others, because, “it’s hard to know on your own how good of quality something is.” While Devin and Kai-Yu aren’t certain what they’ll do with the prize money, they’ve considered donating it to their school.

Devin has two pets, both rescues, a dog named Maggie and a cat named Baby. She plays softball and basketball and likes to cook in her spare time. Devin considers herself a foodie and she recently cooked a delicious stir fry with rice, pan fried almonds, and brownies for dessert. She is part of a family of five including two brothers, one older and one younger. Devin’s mother has been a great inspiration to her because her work at the Massachusetts state level has helped a lot of people. Devin continues to exercise her creativity as her school has transition online by working on a podcast about cooking during quarantine and learning how to adapt by cooking with less ingredients.