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Gold Award Girl Scout provides composting bins for Monkton school

Gold Award Website - Cassandra Guilmette

Cassandra Guillemette of Monkton earns Girl Scouts’ highest honor

MONKTON, VT – Banana peels, apple cores, egg shells, potato skins, coffee grounds – all food scraps are now required by law to be composted in Vermont. Gold Award Girl Scout Cassandra Guillemette knew this law was set to go into effect on July 1, 2020, and set about making it easier for her town’s elementary school to comply with that law by building a composting station and educating the school community on how to use it. Her work has been recognized with the Girl Scout Gold Award, the highest honor a high schooler in Girl Scouts may earn.

Guillemette, 16, of Monkton, said she knew Monkton Central School did not have a place for composting food scraps or the time to teach students about the importance of composting.

“Composting is very important because it’s a waste that can be reused,” she said. “Reusing is one of the ways we can limit issues that will impact future generations.”

After creating a slide show on composting for the students to educate them on the importance of recycling and how to do it, she worked with the administration to allow a three-bin compost structure to be built at the school. The COVID-19 pandemic kept her from making an in-person presentation to the students, so she adapted and presented her work on Zoom. Adapting to the realities of building the structure were part of the experience, too.

Guillemette’s original idea was to build the structure from pallets, but she discovered they can vary in size and quality.

“Pallets come in different sizes,” she said. “It was hard to find standard ones. They had holes in them. So we built our own pallets, rebuilt to a standard size. I spent many afternoons taking out staples and nails!”

With help from her grandfather, she built a structure with three separate bins – one for food scraps and wood chips, a second for the scraps to rest and decompose, and a third for storing the items needed to turn the compost.

“The janitor has been very helpful,” she said of moving the scraps from bin to bin. “We’re trying to get a mentoring group started. They’ll check on it twice a week – check the temperature, understand what needs to be added, then when to switch to the next bin.”

The project taught Guillemette a range of new skills in construction and organization. She learned to use a Skilsaw, table saw, planer, and other tools.

“I learned a lot on how to build and could build the same structure in half the amount of time it took me to build this one,” she said. “It was hard to work on my grandfather’s schedule, but I'm very grateful to him and was super excited to finish without any injuries or complications.”

Not only will this structure be useful for years to come, Guillemette has shared her slideshow with other schools and has posted it online for others to make use of.

This junior at Mount Abraham Union High School spent 145 hours and $346.40 on her project.

A Girl Scout for the past 11 years, Guillemette has long provided community service to her town. She also earned the Girl Scout Silver Award for creating a pop-up library and two Adirondack chairs overlooking Monkton Pond. Over the years, she has participated in the Girl Scout Cookie program, gone camping, and enjoyed traveling with her troop.

Guillemette expects to graduate in the spring of 2023, and hopes to attend college, possible for business or teaching.

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Gold Award Girl Scouts don’t just change the world for the better, they change it for good. The Gold Award is earned by girls in grades 9–12 who demonstrate extraordinary leadership in developing sustainable solutions to local, national, and global challenges. Since 1916, Girl Scouts have answered the call to drive lasting, impactful change. They earn college scholarships, demonstrate high educational and career outcomes, and are active in their communities.

Sarah Hardy has answered the call to drive lasting, impactful change, and her Gold Award is a testament to her remarkable dedication to improving her community and the world. 

About the Girl Scout Gold Award

  • Gold Award Girl Scouts on average spend one to two years on their project.
  • A Gold Award project must be sustainable after the girl’s involvement ends.
  • The average age of Gold Award Girl Scouts is 17.
  • Since 1916, more than 1 million girls have earned the Gold Award or its equivalent.
  • Gold Award Girl Scouts are entitled to enlist at a higher pay grade when they join the military.
  • University research indicates that noting you are a Gold Award Girl Scout on a college application is influential in the admissions decision-making process.
  • Twenty-two young women from New Hampshire and Vermont earned their Gold Award so far in the 2020-2021 membership year as part of Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains.
  • The Girl Scout Gold Award is the mark of the truly remarkable!

We Are Girl Scouts  

Girl Scouts bring their dreams to life and work together to build a better world. Through programs from coast to coast, Girl Scouts of all backgrounds and abilities can be unapologetically themselves as they discover their strengths and rise to meet new challenges—whether they want to climb to the top of a tree or the top of their class, lace up their boots for a hike or advocate for climate justice, or make their first best friends. Backed by trusted adult volunteers, mentors, and millions of alums, Girl Scouts lead the way as they find their voices and make changes that affect the issues most important to them. To join us, volunteer, reconnect, or donate, visit 

Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains serves girls throughout New Hampshire and Vermont through volunteer-run troops, events, and virtual programs. Visit to learn more.