Members of the Mount View High School-based chapter of PeaceJam were surprised with an assembly this week, where they were notified that they were the winners of the nationwide 2010 Global Call to Action Challenge award.

Judging from the number of stories The Journal has published about the group’s activities over the past four years, we were not too surprised to see the PeaceJammers get national recognition. The group’s goal of combating poverty, while also improving school nutrition and saving the district money, continues to be met on so many levels.

Since their projects began, participation in the school lunch program has jumped by more than 20 percent, and students are now eating healthier. According to the press release announcing the honor for the MVHS PeaceJam chapter, school officials at MVHS have seen a drop in absenteeism and disciplinary issues, as well as an improvement in test scores. Healthier eating choices have also benefited the staff and the district in terms of using fewer substitute teachers because of staff illness, and offering lower health insurance co-pays, according to the press release.

Through a PeaceJam-instituted sorting program in the school’s cafeteria, food waste has been reduced by more than 70 percent. The program separates compostables and recyclables from trash. The compostable material goes to Kinney’s Organic Compost Farm, where it is composted into organic fertilizer for use in the Mount View vegetable gardens.

All of these activities have impacted many aspects of life at MVHS. Perhaps through the sorting program, more students will become interested in composting at home. When the program is eventually expanded into the elementary schools, those youths will be well-versed in the art of sorting waste by the time they reach high school. Maybe students will make better food choices outside of school and encourage their families to buy local food.

In a video that was made as part of the local PeaceJam group’s entry for the award, the opening frames display a quote that reads, “A waterfall comes from one drop of water.” Because of the ripple effect that the PeaceJammers’ projects will continue to have on their school community, we cannot think of a better way to describe the history of this group of hardworking, enthusiastic students.

Some impacts of the PeaceJammers’ recent work may not be realized for some time, but one thing is for sure — the MVHS PeaceJam chapter has far more in store for the district that has shown it support since its beginnings in 2006.

“There’s so much more that they will take on,” said MVHS PeaceJam adviser Cathy Roberts.

We’re looking forward to seeing what’s next from the local PeaceJammers, and we congratulate all members, past and present, on receiving a well-earned honor.