St. Paul the Apostle School wins state recycling award

SPARTANBURG — St. Paul the Apostle’s school colors may be royal blue and white, but they’re also looking pretty green these days.
The small Spartanburg school, which has about 150 students in kindergarten through eighth-grade, was named the state’s Recycle School of the Year by the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control.
“We were very impressed with the students and their accomplishments,” Diane A. Marlow, a spokesperson for DHEC, said in an e-mail to The Miscellany.
Marlow noted that the school made recycling a priority with seven separate initiatives and an active environmental club.
“We try to include the students as much as we can and teach them about recycling and to be careful of their environment,” said Patricia Lanthier, principal.
The school’s initiatives not only help students keep their world a little cleaner, they also provide an extra source of revenue for themselves and other community groups.
Every year, St. Paul uses the money earned from recycling aluminum cans to fund a student scholarship. They also save tabs from those cans and donate them to the Ronald McDonald House. This year, the school collected more than 12 pounds of tabs, which are redeemed by the home for sick children for about 50 cents a pound.
Students also saved 45 cell phones, 150 ink jet cartridges and 120 laser jet cartridges. Chip Clary, who teaches computer class and physical education, recycles these products and uses the proceeds to purchase computers and PE equipment for the school.
In 2007, St. Paul added plastic bottles and paper to its recycling program.
“We’re always looking for new things to do,” Lanthier said.
The school’s Environmental Club, which is sponsored by fifth-grade teacher Jane Nicol, is in charge of finding programs and publicizing them. The students hang recycling posters around the building and write articles for the monthly newsletter, Lanthier said.
Another item the students recycle is the six-pack rings that are hazardous to wildlife. Lanthier recalled a time when she was teaching in Miami and took a group of students to the park. There, they saw a duck with a six-pack ring stuck around its head. She said her group tried to catch it but was unsuccessful.
“The poor children were in tears worrying about the little duck,” she said.
At St. Paul, the students do their best to protect the environment. They have recycling bins in every office and classroom and the students are responsible for emptying them into the large outside bin provided by Southeastern Paper Co.  
Clary, Nicol and a number of students attended the 13th annual Recycle Guys Award ceremony in Columbia recently and brought their “really cool” trophy back to the school for display.
“The students are very proud of themselves,” Lanthier said.