Continuing the legacy Pam Larson left behind

The RHS environmental club unveiled a new bench made of recycled plastics in honor of the recently deceased career advisor and Rotary Club president.


Photo by Tali Yako

The RHS environmental club surrounding the new bench.

The RHS environmental club revealed a new bench behind the Ronald J Shurer memorial dedicated to the previous Rotary Club president and RHS career specialist, Pam Larson, on June 8, 2023. 

Larson worked with the RHS environmental club, as well as the Rotary club in the years preceding her passing, on numerous successful projects.  

The commemorating plaque displayed upon the bench for Larson.

“Pam, when she worked here, she gave her whole heart, she was very organized, she was always trying to get projects and things going … she actually started the plastic recycling here,” said the current environmental club advisor, Jamie Whitley. 

In the previous two school years, as well as this year, the club held yearlong drives (soda can and plastic), sorted plastics, and painted local recycling bins within the RHS community.   

The club also worked with the Pierce Conservation District to “remove invasive species as well as harmful brush from Pierce county parks” said upcoming 2023/2024 club president Parker Anselmi.  

To honor the successful partnership between the RHS environmental club, and Larson’s work with the Rotary Club, the two groups chose to dedicate a year-long plastic drive this school year for her.  

The environmental club students collected around 500 pounds of plastic which created the bench.  

“Pretty much any soft plastics that I had over the past year went to (the bench). Like, my brother got a mattress, and I used the plastic from it, or just basically anything I could find to help contribute and then it was those plastics that went into making the bench,” said Anselmi.  

The club members would collect soft plastics, bring them to the school, and then transport them to the recycling center at the Puyallup Home Depot. The Home Depot would then transfer the plastics to a warehouse which then formed the bench.  

After the bench was created, the Rotary Club and the environmental club held a small gathering where they revealed the bench and shared fond memories of Larson’s and their efforts to help clean the local environment.  

Although Anselmi did not personally know Larson he chose to contribute to her dedication because he is “interested in conservation and helping keep our community clean like Larson did” and he will continue Larson’s legacy as he becomes the club president next year.