Abilene 8th grader creates petition to end Styrofoam lunch trays at AISD schools

Making a difference is all Vicky Gao wants to do. Vicky is an 8th grade student at Craig Middle School.

"I also want to show people that you can make a difference even though you're just one person," stated Gao.

Vicky has started a petition to get rid of Styrofoam lunch trays, but not only at Craig Middle School. Vicky wants to rid all Abilene ISD schools of Styrofoam. She has always had a passion for the environment, and she claims that her parents influenced her to be proactive and make a change.

"As far as I can remember, it has always been a part of my life...Everyday I’m just like, 'The world is dying. I need to make a difference.'"

Gao tells KTXS that through her research she has discovered that the only Styrofoam has going for it is its cost.

According to Vicky's research, Styrofoam takes 500 years or longer to decompose, it fills up to 30 percent of the world's land fills, and it contains a chemical compound called styrene that has been linked to cancer.

Vicky plans to bring the petition and her research to the AISD school board when she reaches 3,000 signatures.

Abilene ISD has weighed in on Vicky's efforts. “We certainly have admiration for students who take the initiative to seek positive change where they can. On things such as this, you never know about future feasibility. We all hope we can take more steps to protect our environment," AISD stated.

The school district mentioned that several factors play a part in schools' food services, with low costs being the one of the largest.

"I want, of course, for AISD to say yes, but I totally understand if they have to say no because of cost issues and such,” said Gao.

Gao believes that the community of Abilene will rally behind AISD to help make this change.

About a week ago, she started this petition and already has around 750 signatures. Her goal is 3,000.

If people wish to participate in Vicky’s petition, they can do so online at

For direct contact with Vicky Gao, email her at

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