BAY, AR (KAIT) - Students at one Region 8 high school have paved the way for an entire community to take care of the environment.
Bay High School teacher and Student Council Sponsor Una Mae Brown said their student's recycling journey began in 1993 with a student named Jennifer Woods.
"She was in student council," Brown said. "She had the vision of having recycling. We did not have city recycling at that point. No blue bag program or anything. And this was her goal."
Brown and fellow teacher Marsha Lowery set to work with students.
After many years and support from the community and a number of different organizations, the recycling program at Bay High School grew by leaps and bounds.
"Today we have bins in each classroom," Brown said. "And we have students recycle in every classroom with the help of the teachers. We have two students who collect those. They gather the office paper in those bins and take them out to our wagon that is provided to us by the Craighead County Regional Solid Waste Management. They also maintain it and provide us the opportunity to recycle so we can help the landfill."
Brown said it's amazing to think of where they first started to where they are today.
"We started out with what we called 'recycle Saturdays'," Brown said. "We did it once a month out in front of the gym. We had trash cans where we took the various plastic, aluminum cans, and paper. From there we managed to get bigger trash cans that were labeled that we left out on the campus. Then we moved to the wagon that we have outside which is much safer and keeps the recycling materials much cleaner. Waste Management provides us with the crates, the bins that are in the classrooms. We have students that are very faithful to do that, both in the classroom and those who collect it."
Eighth-grade students Sidney Ashlock and Lawren Vitiello work every day to make sure the recycling program is a success.
"It's a daily thing for them," Brown said. "They get out of study hall and go classroom to classroom and to all the offices. They even go to the pre-school and get the recycling and put it in the wagon. The wagon holds plastic and aluminum cans. We have many community people who put stuff in, as well."
Ashlock said she wants to make a difference in her community.
"I like knowing that I'm doing something good," Ashlock said. "That I'm just helping out. It's important."
Fellow student Lawren Vitiello said it was Ashlock who first encouraged who to sign up and join the recycling crew.
"It's fun," Vitiello said. "It's kind of hard sometimes, but it's really fun to do. It's a good thing to do."
Both Ashlock and Vitiello are in their second year of working on the recycling program, and they aren't the only ones who feel it's important.
Brown said they've seen an enormous amount of support from the community.
"The community was very supportive in bringing stuff," Brown said. "On recycle Saturday, people would put that on their calendars and come help. We have many elderly members in the community who are very diligent about putting stuff in the wagon."
Brown said not only is recycling important, it's not difficult.
"It is such an easy thing to do," Brown said. "If they don't wish to bring it to us in the Bay city limits, they have the recycle program with the blue bags. They just put the recycling items in the bags, put it out and the city picks it up. And it does so much good in terms of the landfill, besides providing extra jobs for people who help with it on up the line."
Brown said all the students and teachers participate in the recycling program.
Members of the FCCLA and the Leadership and Service Learning class took on the recycling project to enhance the school's program.
The program is also largely supported by the Bay School District, their Superintendent Bobby Hutchinson and the Craighead County Regional Solid Waste Management District.
For more information about Bay High School, click here.