Stanley Humphries - 1st place Secondary School Division 2017/2018

November 19, 2018

SHSS Recycling Program - Making a difference one container at a time!!!!!

Brendan is a visually and cognitively impaired student who attends the special education program at SHSS. Working with these challenges, Brendan has overcome many obstacles in order to be a successful team leader of our recycling program. With adaptations and modifications put in place, Brendan has learned to do jobs in a certain way in order for him to complete the task.  He takes his job to teach and recycle in our school very seriously. He helps students know the routine, procedures, schedule, and work that needs to be done in a timely manner in order for the job to be completed efficiently.  The students have seen Brendan as a recycling team leader for a few years and respect him, his experience, and the work that he does within the school community.

At SHSS the recycling program is a weekly event that takes place. A group of students, led by our recycling team leader Brendan, collects the bottles, cans and juice containers from the classrooms and offices throughout the building. The team is comprised of leadership and grade 8 students throughout the school that help collect and sort recycling containers. With the assistance of many different students, a sense of community is built within the building to help and assist making our school a cleaner and environmentally friendly place to be.

Each class has labelled containers that allows students and staff to do their part to recycle bottles, cans, juice containers, and paper, keeping the classrooms neat and tidy. When the announcement that recycling collection is taking place comes over the PA system, teachers put their recycling bins into the hallway, and then the recycling team gets to work collecting, replacing bags, and cleaning containers. Like a well-oiled machine, the team moves throughout the three floors to collect the bottles, cans and juice containers and then moves the bags to the sorting area for the second day of recycling work.

During the second day of the recycling process, Brendan and his team go to the storage and sort area of the school where they get to work emptying, sorting, counting, and bagging the large number of collected containers. Here the team works on a table made especially for the recycling team. The metalwork teacher and a group of students, designed and made a table that allows the team to empty liquids from the collected recycling items. This table has a frame around it to keep containers from falling off of the table, it has a drain built into one corner, and is slanted to one side so that the liquids drain off the table, and into a bucket. This “invention” helps to make the job of emptying and sorting much easier and faster for the team. From there, the team sorts the containers into groups, counts them, and bags them. The team then takes the full bags out to the storage shed until they can then be driven to the recycling depot to be returned for money. The Return-It Depot in Castlegar is where we return the school’s empty containers and to date we have returned and recycled 13,335 containers and raised $676.07 for our special education program at our school.

The money collected from the recycling program goes to support activities and events within the special education program of the school. This allows students to be able to travel on group field trips, participate in a unique cooking program, attend the swimming program, participate in a life skill building program, travel to work experience opportunities, and purchase needed program equipment for the department within the school. All of these activities allow the special education students to gain skills that will help them when they leave the public school system to attain jobs and move forward with their life experiences.

The recycling program within the school teaches responsibility, work ethic, self-accomplishment, community, teamwork, and environmental responsibility and awareness within our school. It has proven to be a great way for students to work together for the betterment of our school and environment, and to help raise money for a program that allows students to achieve their goals. This opportunity for “working” gives students a sense of accomplishment and pride when they can see that they have made a considerable difference within our school and community.