RECYCLING YOUNG: County students taking the lead
by JOYANNA WEBER, Banner Staff Writer
Oct 02, 2012 | 2110 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
VALLEY VIEW ELEMENTARY students in Joy McSpadden’s, back left, kindergarten class  won first place in a recent Recycling Murals Contest are seen above. The judges were cafeteria manager Sheila Dunn, Debbie Millard of Coca-Cola and past Keep America Beautiful board member Brenda Frederick. These designs will be used to create the four 4' x 4' murals that will be displayed above each of the recycling containers at the school. Recycling programs are being used in many  Bradley County Schools to highlight the system’s leadership focus. Photo courtesy of Doug Caywood.  Submitted photo
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One student’s discarded paper has become another student’s learning opportunity as Bradley County elementary schools use recycling programs to teach leadership skills.

At Prospect Elementary School, a recycling program was implemented last year with help from BEST partner Santek Environmental. This year the program has expanded to become an avenue for the new Bradley County Schools leadership focus.

“We chose fourth grade because we felt fifth grade already does so many things,” school counselor Michele Dunkle said. “We want fourth-graders to learn about leadership roles and progress to those roles in fifth grade. Each teacher in the fourth grade chose two students.”

Each day members of the recycling team collect paper from the classrooms and take it to a large container outside.

Prospect students Blake Ward and Cole Haney, who participate in recycling at home, enjoy being a part of the program.

“I just like helping the community recycle,” Ward said.

The leadership opportunities also expanded to other classes as teachers select a student to carry the boxes of paper from the class to the fourth-graders in the hall.

Prospect fourth-graders study recycling in science class and through 4-H studies, Dunkle said. She said the project gives the students ownership for the program.

Leadership is also being tied in with recycling at Waterville Community and Valley View elementary schools.

At Waterville Community Elementary, parent John Burger was a driving force behind the program implemented six years ago.

“I saw the need for it,” Burger said. “Typically schools throw out a lot of paper.”

Each Friday, a group of fifth-graders help Burger collect paper from the classrooms and sort the other recyclables.

The program has expanded beyond paper and includes aluminum and steel cans, cardboard, cellphones and printer cartridges.

What was once just discarded has become a way to make money for the school.

Burger said he takes the recycling to Rock-Tenn Recycling and is paid for it. In the past, this money has been used toward the CDC playground at the school.

Valley View Elementary School’s recycling program was started last school year.

Doug Caywood, owner of Valley View’s BEST partner Downtown Design Studio, said it had been a project he wanted to help the school administer.

He worked with kindergarten teacher Barbara Edwards and others at the school to implement it in May of this year.

Teachers can designate a student to take care of the paper collection in each classroom as a leadership position.

Classroom leadership positions are one of the major components of the “Leaders for Life” focus implemented countywide this year.

Students have also been involved in promoting recycling in the Valley View community by creating murals to be hung over each recycling bin identifying its use.

Caywood said the school held a contest during its celebration of the national Green Apple Day of Service.

“We’ve been promoting it in the community throughout the summer,” Caywood said.

Already the program has collected more than 7,000 pounds of recyclable material.

Paper, cardboard, plastics and aluminum are picked up from the school once a week through the Coca-Cola Refreshments School Recycling program.

Other Bradley County schools also participate in this program.