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  • Lars Lawson

Recycle-Bowl Article in the Kokomo Perspective

Eastern Elementary Recycling

CELEBRATION — Eastern Elementary School Principal Randy Maurer cheers as Howard County Recycling Director Mikki Jeffers presents the school with a $1,000 check for placing first in the national “Recycle-Bowl.”Perspective Photo / Pat Munsey

Posted on March 8, 2012

The Eastern Elementary School gymnasium shook with the sound of hundreds of cheering children last week. A casual observer might have thought the school had won a state basketball championship, as kids screamed with joy, performed a wave and otherwise celebrated with every bit of energy they could muster.

It turns out they had good reason to cheer. The school recently was named as the national champion of the first annual “Recycle-Bowl,” beating out 1,222 other schools in a competition to see who could recycle the most waste material.

The title came with a few perks, including a $1,000 prize from sponsoring organization Keep America Beautiful and a commemorative plate made of recycled glass by Kokomo Opalescent Glass, provided by the Howard County Recycling District.

After Principal Randy Maurer got the kids revved up with a few cheers and waves, recycling district director Mikki Jeffers congratulated the kids on their accomplishment.

“I figured since all of my schools were already doing recycling, why not enter them into the competition?” said Jeffers. “Then I got a call over Christmas break, telling me that we had five schools in the top six in the nation, and Eastern Elementary was No. 1! Thank you for doing an awesome job, and keep up the good work!”

From Oct. 17 through Nov. 12, 2011, participating schools recycled as much as possible. Eastern Elementary topped the list with 9,183 pounds of recyclables per capita, or approximately 40 pounds for every student in the school. Eastern Elementary was joined by Taylor High School, Pettit Park Elementary, Taylor Intermediate School and Elwood Haynes Elementary as five of the top six schools in nation in the competition. Eight of the top 10 schools in Indiana were from Howard County as well.

Overall, Howard County Schools showed extremely well in the Recycle-Bowl competition.

“Of Indiana’s total of 45 participating schools I couldn’t be happier that 27 of those schools are from Howard County,” said Jeffers. “The recycling district entered the schools in the competition, and we tracked their weights weekly. Since we already had a recycling program in place for the schools, everything went smoothly.

“The kids and school staff do a fabulous job year round recycling not just during the Recycle-Bowl competition; however they sure did shine during this competition.”

Jeffers and her staff were joined by a representative from the Indiana Recycling Coalition at the event, and Carey Hamilton, executive director of the coalition added a congratulations.

“The Indiana Recycling Coalition congratulates Eastern Elementary, and all 45 Indiana schools who participated in this first year of Recycle-Bowl,” said Hamilton. “We are thrilled with the strong response during the inaugural competition and plan to encourage many more schools across the state to sign on for the fall 2012 competition.”

The celebrating didn’t end with the recycling award, however. The school decided expand the convocation to include a medal ceremony for the children achieving a “Pass Plus” rating on the fall ISTEP test in one or more categories. Eastern Superintendent Tracy Caddell joined in the fun as literally hundreds of medals were draped around students’ necks in recognition of their accomplishments. And all children who passed the ISTEP were awarded a certificate.

“You should be proud!” said Maurer as the students stepped forward to receive their honors. “There’s nothing wrong with being smart, and you all are very smart!”


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