WINNERS ANNOUNCED! - 2021 High School Earth Day Essay Contest 

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Congratulations to our two Earth Day essay contest winners, Julio Rodriguez and Matthew Spink! Julio and Matthew were selected to receive the 2021 Earth Day Scholarship for their inspiring essays responding to this year’s essay prompt, “What can you do to inspire community-wide change to reduce greenhouse gas emissions within the City of Half Moon Bay.” 


Julio wrote about the harmful effects of C02 produced from cars and discussed how C02 increases the acidity of our oceans, causing harm to local organisms like crabs. He proposed implementing a carpooling program for the high school’s 900 students that is organized by neighborhoods and connected via an app that also offered small prizes to incentivize participation.

Julio is an active member of the ALAS leadership program and was recently accepted to the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute in Washington D.C., where he hopes to learn about local legislation and how to navigate the system so he can bring that knowledge back to the community. Congratulations, Julio!


Matthew advocated for wider adoption and support of the Half Moon Bay Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan. He referenced the Plan’s five E’s - education, encouragement, enforcement, evaluation, and equity – to encourage cycling and committed to adopting bicycling as his main mode of transportation. He also planned to advocate for greater adoption of bicycles at the high school by encouraging the student government at HMB High to promote cycling at assemblies and to offer covered bike racks at the school.   

In addition to bicycling, Matthew’s sustainability efforts include growing his own crops, including sugar snap peas, tomatoes, brussels sprouts and more and making sure that any uneaten parts of these plants are either composted or returned to the soil. Congratulations, Matthew!


Thank you to everyone that participated in the contest this year! We hope you will consider participating again next year if you are an incoming high school junior or senior. Bookmark this page or subscribe to our eNews or sustainability newsletter to be notified when our next scholarship cycle is released (est. spring 2022).