Westgate Elementary third-grader meets with Mayor, proposes plan to reduce beach litter

It was all smiles after Mayor Dave Earling's meeting with Westgate Elementary third-grader Aimee Cusimano. With the two are Aimee's mother Jina Cusimano, left, and her teacher Lisa Hamilton.
It was all smiles after Mayor Dave Earling’s meeting with Westgate Elementary third-grader Aimee Cusimano. With the two are Aimee’s mother Jina Cusimano, left, and her teacher Lisa Hamilton.

Aimee Cusimano, a third-grade student at Westgate Elementary, loves Edmonds’ beaches. But the doesn’t like the litter that she finds there.

So she decided to do something about it.

“We were doing a class project on persuasive writing,” said her teacher, Lisa Hamilton. “Aimee chose to write a letter to Mayor Dave Earling outlining the problem and suggesting solutions.”

Aimee’s letter cites solid examples of her complaint, including finding a sand castle and being shocked to see that it was mostly made out of trash. “The trash is everywhere,” she says. “It’s so bad that it makes me not want to go there anymore.”

Her letter goes on to offer solutions, such as rounding up her friends to make posters encouraging beach visitors to pick up their trash, and to do a monthly beach cleanup. She even argues that cleaner beaches would bring more people to Edmonds, and more business to local merchants.

Mayor Earling was impressed. So much so that on Thursday he made a special visit to Westgate Elementary to meet with Aimee and talk about her ideas.

The two talked for nearly half an hour, and came up with a plan to make posters and arrange for her class to conduct at beach cleanup.

“This is one of the most productive meetings I’ve been to in a long time,” said Earling. “I’m extremely impressed that Aimee went beyond just identifying a problem, and proposed real, workable solutions.”

— Story and photo by Larry Vogel

  1. This is a wonderful story about our citizen Amiee and the plans she has come up with. I feel as she does about litter all along the beach along with dog doo i find on the beach. Signs posted say No Dogs at each entrance but are ignored or over looked. I will look forward to see new signs about keeping our beaches clean. Thank you Aimee

  2. Congratulations to Lisa Hamilton for continuing to inspire our children to use their voice. We need quality future leaders and world advocates and by putting passion to paper it will help us all. Great job Aimee and thank you!

  3. Good for Amiee! GOOD magazine just had an article and comments about people around the world collecting the trash from beaches all over and making the trash into pieces of fine art……An odd connection of different cultures, but the fine art is BEAUTIFUL, and it is something EVERYBODY on the planet can do to make it a better place……..There is one huge sculpture made out of I believe plastic bottles and it is truly beautiful! and huge!……Almost looks like SEA LIFE……isn’t that an irony?!

  4. Congratulations to Aimee, Lisa Hamilton and Westgate Elementary. There are a myriad of amazing things going on at Westgate. They rolled out the Leader in Me program this year and one by one the 450+ students there are learning about personal leadership and implementing projects and behaviors that correspond. The community is encouraged to look inside and see what all is going on!

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