Monarch Institute and School celebrates Earth Day

By Lauren Freeman - Anchor

HOUSTON - Tuesday is Earth Day and for most of us it's a day that comes just once each year. But for one local school, Earth Day is every day. Monarch Institute and School is taking on a living building challenge.

Monarch Institute and School unveiled their living building classroom Tuesday.

For 11th grader Ian Stefanick it was a labor of love.

"It was actually kinda fun. It showed me a different view of how to do things," said Stefanick.

The head of Monarch Institute and School, Dr. Debrah Hall, said Tuesday was a long time in the making.

"So this is a building that's completely off the grid. We have one year to prove ourselves to be able to call ourselves a living building. When we do that we'll be only the sixth in the nation," said Hall.

Hall said the kids are so proud of their new building, too.

"We serve kids with neurological differences, Asperger, Tourettes, bipolar and anxiety disorders," said Hall.

She says building it was a challenge.

"It took three months to find nails without any toxic materials on it. Our kids have tremendous challenges and they work very very hard to overcome them. The more interactive their learning can be the more sincere the learning is," Hall said.

Besides the main building classroom there's also a green bocce court the students built, a salvage sale, and the students are still creating more art.

Teachers will be developing a curriculum around the living building challenge but everyday they teach students about how to be good stewards.

The construction of the living building studio classroom's 1,120 square-feet, free-standing multipurpose classroom is now complete. Now the students can enjoy the facility and continue to learn from it.

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