Joel Blanco, 2017 Bay Student of the Year

2017 Bay Student of the Year

Joel Blanco of Providence, R.I.

Seventh-grader at Gilbert Stuart Middle School

Joel Blanco was named Save The Bay's Bay Student of the Year in 2017 for his enthusiasm for the local environment, and his willingness to get over his fears and eventually learn to love the wildlife of the Bay.
Joel Blanco was named Save The Bay’s Bay Student of the Year in 2017 for his enthusiasm for the local environment, and his willingness to get over his fears and eventually learn to love the wildlife of the Bay.

Joel Blanco stepped out of his comfort zone three years ago when he signed up for Save The Bay’s afterschool program through the Providence After School Alliance. Exploring the shoreline on the hunt for critters, hauling in the trawl net full of creatures and dissecting squid made him very uncomfortable, so he let the other students handle those pieces.

Much has changed for Blanco since then.

He has participated in Save The Bay’s afterschool program for the past two years, and has chosen Save The Bay’s summer program over other options for two summers as well. He has overcome his apprehension of touching and feeling critters so much that he often takes the lead in helping newer students warm up to the hands-on aspect of the program.

The evolution in his learning style and love of nature and the marine environment has been a joy for the education staff to help foster over the years. When asked what he wants to be later in life, Blanco says “a marine biologist with Save The Bay.”

*Please note:  Be sure to access the Johnson & Wales University Harborside Campus through the main entrance on Harborside Blvd. Your GPS may suggest taking Ernest Street to JWU’s Shipyard Street entrance, but that route requires a key card for entry.  

From Route I-95 North or South, take Exit 18 (Thurbers Avenue). Head downhill on Thurbers Avenue to US Route 1A (Allens Avenue). Turn right onto Allens Ave. Continue southbound on Allens Ave. into Cranston, where Allens Ave. becomes Narragansett Blvd. Turn left onto Harborside Blvd. at the traffic light by the Shell gas station. Follow Harborside Blvd. through the Johnson & Wales Harborside Campus. At the end of Harborside Blvd., turn right onto Save The Bay Drive. Save The Bay Drive becomes a circular, one-way roadway as you approach the Bay Center. Parking is available in four guest lots after you pass the main building. Enter the building through the main entrance.

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