The Student News Site of Richard Montgomery High School

The Tide

The Student News Site of Richard Montgomery High School

The Tide

The Student News Site of Richard Montgomery High School

The Tide


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Shrusti Amula named L’Oréal Woman Of Worth

Senior Shrusti Amula poses for photos during a media dinner at the Women of Worth Summit in NYC this past August, where she first got to know the other honorees. (Photo permission granted by Shrusti Amula)

Senior Shrusti Amula was a guest of honor at the L’Oréal Paris Women of Worth event in Los Angeles on Nov. 17, as one of ten female change makers awarded for the impact they made on their communities. Amula was the only teenager selected, and was chosen for her work as founder and CEO of the Rise N Shine Foundation

The foundation is dedicated to reducing food waste through composting and food recovery in Montgomery County and beyond. Her program, which will be adopted by all 209 MCPS schools in 2024, has diverted 100,000 pounds of food waste and redistributed much of it to food banks.

Amula first learned about the negative impacts of food waste in seventh grade at the Montgomery County Agricultural Fair. “Food waste is such a simple thing to reduce and a lot of people don’t realize what a big issue it is,” she said. 

So, she took initiative. In 2018, she opened a composting program at Clarksburg Elementary School. The cafeteria would collect food waste, and a hauler picked it up to take it to a compost facility. When it became a success, Amula expanded the program to other elementary schools. The nonprofit Rise N Shine was officially born in 2019, out of necessity to handle the costs of running the compost program.

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Amula’s innovation continued even after the foundation’s establishment.

 “After seeing how much of their food was completely unopened after rising levels of food insecurity [during] COVID, I realized the food that these students aren’t even eating could be used to fight food insecurity,” she said. She consequently started the food recovery program to address the drastic imbalance. 

“Students are able to put their food in a mini fridge or a share cart so other students can come get it throughout the day,” she said. “Sometimes, that’s their only source of food in a day.” Students can also grab food at the end of the day to take home and eat. 

Amula credits the reaction of the students as one of the best parts of her work. 

“It’s just really great to see the students so excited about composting,” she said. “They’re telling their parents to start composting at home and when they’re graduating to their next school, they’re telling the new school about [our programs].”

“Youth can be change makers and they can make a difference.”

— Shrusti Amula

The food recovery program also takes leftover food from local restaurants and bakeries and delivers them to homeless shelters. They host a pop-up pantry where people can stock up on groceries delivered by Rise N Shine. 

“They’re telling us how this is the only real nutritious food they’re getting,” Amula said. “We’re able to have a direct impact on the daily lives of these people.”

This August, Amula was publicly named a Women of Worth by L’Oréal Paris. She applied with zero expectations. 

“I was really surprised to hear when I won, especially because I’m so young,” she said.

The Women of Worth have been honored in a variety of ways, including the Nov. 17 celebratory gala, where a mini documentary on Amula’s work with Rise N Shine was played. She also walked the red carpet and gave a speech, along with her fellow honorees, who come from a diverse set of backgrounds and causes. 

“We have very diverse missions…It was really nice to learn about issues I didn’t even realize were a thing,” she said. “Everyone has achieved different things and it’s all super inspiring to see.”

Rise N Shine also was awarded a $25,000 grant from L’Oréal, which makes a significant impact given the high cost of maintaining food recovery and compost programs in schools that cannot fund it themselves. 

However, for Amula, the money is not the biggest impact the award has.

 “The biggest thing it means is recognition [that] youth can be change makers and they can make a difference,” she said. In the past, Amula faced challenges getting the adult public to take Rise N Shine seriously, as it’s completely run by youth, but the L’Oréal award is a testament to the power of youth and the impact they can have on their communities. 

As for the future, Amula has big plans. The programs she began in her local elementary school will be expanding to Minnesota and Nevada, and she hopes to implement them systematically, and maybe even go international. 

Amula has some advice for young people that want to be change makers. 

“Keep pushing,” she said. “You have an additional boundary at our age because you are a young person talking to adults. A lot of people aren’t going to listen to you, but you will find one who will, and it’ll just roll from there.”

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About the Contributors
Raha Murtuza
Raha Murtuza, Editor-in-Chief
Raha is super excited to spend her senior year as Editor-in-Chief of The Tide! Before being EIC, she wrote for Sports and Arts, and then became an editor for Arts. When she's not at school or working on all things Tide, she enjoys painting, visiting Trader Joe's and listening to the best record label on Earth, Habibi Funk.
Elena Parisi
Elena Parisi, Features Editor
Elena Parisi is a senior and is so excited to be back as a Features Editor. This is her third year with The Tide, after being a Features writer and a Features asistant editor. Besides The Tide, her passions include dancing, practicing Spanish and listening to music.