By: Sharon Aron Baron
A Coral Springs science teacher has won an award for challenging his students to reflect on the impact of ocean pollution.
Mitchell Comiskey, a science teacher at Forest Glen Middle School, has won a Sponsor Recognition Award for his contribution to the 2017 Ocean Awareness Student Contest, sponsored by Bow Seat Ocean Awareness Programs. Comiskey, who was selected based on nominations from his students, will receive a $750 cash award.
The 2017 Bow Seat Ocean Awareness Student Contest challenged students to create visual art, poetry, prose, or film around the theme of “Ocean Pollution: Challenges & Solutions” to show the impact of ocean pollution, inspire viewers to consider possible solutions, and challenge them to take action. Students who entered the contest were required to enlist the support of an adult sponsor. After submitting their entries, students were encouraged to nominate sponsors who helped to change their lives and the world for the better.
Comiskey, a resident of Royal Palm Beach has been a teacher for 31 years, and 19 at Forest Glen Middle School. He holds a degree in biological science from FAU and said the satisfaction he gets from teaching is helping to develop an appreciation and passion for science and nature as well as instilling in his students how to use this knowledge to be responsible stewards for our fragile planet.
“While leaving my class with an understanding of scientific processes is important, the most rewarding part of my job is guiding my students to become lifelong ocean conservationists,” said Comiskey.
Since 2012, Bow Seat has run the international Ocean Awareness Student Contest – the largest youth arts and ocean advocacy competition in the world – in which students examine the connections between human activities and the health of our oceans through the creative arts.
Linda Cabot, founder and president of Bow Seat said, “Our talented and passionate contest participants are collectively building a wave of awareness and empathy for our oceans by informing and inspiring others to take action.”
Nearly 7,000 teenagers worldwide have participated in the Ocean Awareness Student Contest since its inception, and Bow Seat has awarded more than $215,000 in scholarships to talented youth. In 2017, entries from 63 countries and 48 U.S. states were submitted.
By harnessing the power of creative media to educate, inspire, and activate younger generations, the contest aims to create meaningful experiences that help participants not only to understand new concepts, but also to connect with ideas emotionally. According to Bow Seat, 73 percent of students reported that the contest increased their knowledge about ocean pollution issues. Two-thirds stated that it impacted their worldview and the way they act in it, such as reducing their plastic consumption or joining a green team.
Said Cabot, “We appreciate Mitchell’s efforts to empower and engage his students in environmental awareness, ocean activism, and the arts – Bow Seat could not do what we’re doing without the help of sponsors like Mitchell.”