News Release, Charles County Public Schools

For the past several years, students and staff at William B. Wade Elementary School have implemented several environmentally friendly practices as part of the school’s Go Green initiative. In fall 2018, students and staff competed in a national recycling competition, the Keep America Beautiful Recycle Bowl challenge. During a four-week collection period, the Wade school community collected a total of 10,564 pounds of recyclable materials. Their efforts ultimately landed them with the title of 2018-19 Maryland Recycle Bowl Champion.

Joy Fisher and Lisa Hasz, instructional assistants at Wade, spearheaded the school’s Recycle Bowl efforts and are co-chairs of the school’s Go Green Club.  Students who led the school in the Recycle Bowl challenge are members of the fourth grade Blue Bin Recyclers Club. At the start of each school year, each fourth-grade teacher recommends students for the blue bin recycling program. Students are chosen for demonstrating personal responsibility and a desire to help their community.

“We talked with teachers and asked them for a list of students who would be responsible. Our goal is five kids per [fourth grade] class and this year, we have a total of 24. These students are extremely responsible and are role models for our green initiatives,” Hasz said.

Students in the recyclers club spend one day per week during recess collecting materials from classroom recycle bins. The club is divided in teams that rotate their recycling duties during the week. Each team has a color-coded hallway to collect from, gathers bins from classrooms and puts all materials into a larger blue bin featuring wheels that are easy for students to push.

Fourth grader Kylee Felton likes helping the environment and enjoys being a member of the club. “I like that we can help and giving up recess is not bad. We have our bins, carry our gloves and add all of the recycling together. I like that we get to help our school recycle. It’s fun,” Felton said.

Horatio Johnson-Wheeler said he was surprised at first when his teacher recommended him for the program. The Wade fourth grader said he did not realize how serious of a charge the recycle club had until the group had its first meeting. “I was so surprised I was picked. I seriously said ‘Oh my gosh … is this real?’  Being in the club is helping me to remember things more often, such as taking the trash outside and what items go where,” Johnson-Wheeler said.

Fisher and Hasz launched the Blue Bin Recyclers Club in 2012. Wade has participated in the Recycle Bowl challenge for the past seven years, earning second and third place awards for its efforts. This is the first year the school received the overall first place award among Maryland schools.

At the start of each school year, Wade staff incorporate the Recycle Bowl challenge as the kick-start to the schools’ Go Green initiatives. The challenge helps to educate new students about the recycling program and serves as a refresher for returning students and staff. During the challenge, staff track and report how much recyclable material is collected. A total of 730 schools across the country participated this year.

Wade Principal Kevin Jackson said he is proud of the green efforts utilized by students and staff. “This [award] is an honor for Wade students and our team. Our staff and students have learned to value recycling because it is the responsible thing to do for our environment, regardless of any acknowledgement. However, we are extremely thankful for this wonderful spotlight shining on the efforts of our school community,” Jackson said.

Fisher and Hasz also oversee another important green initiative at Wade – the breakfast recyclers program. After school breakfast is over, student breakfast recyclers visit classrooms to collect unopened juice containers and prepackaged snacks. Using carts, they collect these items and store them for students to have during the school day. “Many times I take a snack with me to class after helping. The program has made me more mindful of how I can better clean up after myself,” Faith Peoples, a Wade third grader who helps as a breakfast recycler, said.

This year, the motto at Wade is #cleanrecycling. Moreover, the entire school is part of the Go Green efforts. During the Recycle Bowl challenge, students noticed that their peers were recycling milk, juice and water containers, but were not emptying them before tossing them in the blue bins. Now, students in all grade levels help in a new program called liquid lunch. A station is set up in the school cafeteria in which grade-level helpers collect recyclable items that contain liquids, use a bucket to dump out the content and then place the plastics in a recycling bin.

“We just started the liquid lunch last week and identified student helpers. We really are working to come up with ideas to help our initiatives,” Fisher said.  Last year, Wade earned its first Green School designation and Fisher said the Go Green efforts will continue. “We are helping kids learn healthy habits,” she said.

Members of the fourth grade Blue Bin Recyclers Club include students Caila Alexander, Devin Alexander, Emily Blundell, Kayman Burwell, Alannah Christie, Aidan Dupree, Darion Edwards, Maryam Elayyadi, Janiyah Fenwick, Kylee Felton, Asia Grant, Miah Hancock, Kennedi Horn, Igham Hosendorf, Brianna Lancaster, Desiree Nash, Michael Oluyede, Takai Plummer, Nina Thomas, Angelina Tkachuk, Kevin Weng, Horatio Johnson-Wheeler and Marli Vaccaro.

David M. Higgins II, Publisher/Editor

David M. Higgins was born in Baltimore and grew up in Southern Maryland. He has had a passion for journalism since high school. After spending many years in the Hospitality Industry he began working in...