2017 Bay Student of the Year
Joel Blanco of Providence, R.I.
Seventh-grader at Gilbert Stuart Middle School
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.”