Every Friday, students in the Rotary Academy at Lincoln Middle School collect paper from classrooms on all three floors of the building. They created their own recycling bins for each room.
Student John Oldham says, “We started making recycling bins out of boxes and we put a piece a of paper on it that was laminated that said ‘Please Recycle’ or something like that. But we basically just made our own recycling bins.”
Paper in those bins is picked up and taken to a special dumpster for recycling. Students weigh the paper to keep track of how much they pick up. They’ve already recycled more than one thousand pounds of paper. It’s their community service project for the Rotary Academy. Students have to apply to take part in the program.
Rotary Academy sponsor Judy Cunningham says, “I check eligibility every week and they can’t help with the recycling unless they are passing all of their classes. And when they’re out of their class doing the actual recycling, it’s usually about a class period and a half, and they have to make up the work they’re missing.”
The students’ dedication was recognized during last month’s Earth Day Luncheon. They received the Hutchcroft Youth Environmental Award from Keep Northern Illinois Beautiful. The student’s commitment to improving the environment is contagious.
Jasmine Ayala says, “At home, I recycle more, cause now that I do it at school, I do it at home too and I tell my family to do it. So we all do it and we all cooperate. Cause it helps the environment.”
Cunningham says, “My hope is that they will carry it through high school and college.”