Weekly roundup: Oxford Academy student aims to recycle one million batteries, district celebrates anniversary, and more

One Million Batteries Oxford Academy
Student Joshua Lou (center) and Oxford Academy’s Environmental Conservation Organization Club collected more than 12,000 used batteries during a drive in early 2022. (Photo courtesy of Joshua Lou)

A high school junior from Oxford Academy is on a quest to save the planet, one used battery at a time.

Since establishing a nonprofit organization called Teens Against E-Waste last November, 16-year-old student Joshua Lou created a campaign called “One Million Batteries” that aims to raise awareness of e-waste recycling. So far, he and more than 800 teens from six different countries have collected more than 300,000 used batteries.

Batteries collected

Joshua began by collecting old batteries from senior apartments near his home in Cypress. Then he enlisted help from 18 classmates to organize an event at their high school campus, where they collected more than 12,000 batteries in two weeks.

“I felt so empowered,” Joshua said. “Without our collection event, these batteries would have ended up in landfills, contaminating our land and water.”

The Long Beach Press-Telegram advertised his organization’s most recent event at Cerritos College, where he is also enrolled.

Joshua turns the used batteries and other e-waste items in to local government-run collection centers, as it is illegal to throw away batteries in trash or residential recycling bins in California.

Here are the other stories we’ve been keeping up with this week:

  • Orange County’s high school graduation rate continued to climb through the pandemic. This education trend was included in the latest Orange County Community Indicators report, which was unveiled by the Orange County Business Council.
  • The Fullerton School District transformed an unused piece of land that was part of the Orangethorpe Elementary School campus into an outdoor learning space for students to express their creativity.
WSD Anniversary Celebration
Superintendent Dr. Cyndi Paik invited Sylvia Mendez and Janice Munemitsu as her special guests for the district’s 150th anniversary celebration.
  • The Westminster School District celebrated its 150th anniversary during a ceremony that reflected on the past while laying out plans for future educational programs.
  • An Irvine Unified student has picked up thousands of pieces of trash since she started “plogging” in 2019. As Spectrum News 1 reported, student Claire Chong started this mission after she learned about environmental pollution.
  • A bill that would have set aside $100 million to create or expand health clinics on school campuses was vetoed by the governor.
  • Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill that will streamline access to the state’s subsidized early childhood education system and make it easier for low-income families to access the state preschool program.
  • Newsom also signed new legislation that would change the way elected officials, including school board members, can be recalled.
Rainbow fentanyl
(Photo courtesy of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration)
  • Even as fentanyl overdoses among young people have dramatically increased in recent years, health education classes remain optional in most schools. As EdSource reported, only two-thirds of middle and high schools in California offer a dedicated class in health education.

This is the part where we encourage you to keep up with local education news stories by bookmarking the OCDE Newsroomsubscribing for emailed updates and following us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.