Freedom Middle School eighth-grader Ben Gray is so strongly opposed to Styrofoam that he refuses to eat off of it.
Now, because of his efforts, he won’t have to. And neither will his peers.
The Franklin Special School District eliminated the product from its cafeterias after Gray raised the issue with the system’s top administrator. The district is celebrating Gray’s initiative today as part of Earth Day.
In February, Gray wrote a letter to Director of Schools David Snowden expressing disapproval that the district used so many trays and cups made from polystyrene, commonly known by the brand Styrofoam. Snowden was speaking at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts in Nashville one Saturday as part of a program that included artwork displayed by Gray’s younger sister, Chloe. Gray decided to hand deliver the letter.
“I honestly wasn’t expecting him to like the idea at all,” Gray said in an interview at his school Monday. “He was really nice and he listened, so it wasn’t too terribly bad.”
Snowden, it turned out, was surprised to find out the school system had already used 220,000 Styrofoam trays this year alone. A few days after his conversation with Gray, he called Gray’s mother, Amy Kovar, to tell her the district would be phasing out the material.
“It was really a cool thing as his mom to see him not just complain about something but actually take action and approach the school superintendent,” she said.