By Debbie Adams
The students at King’s Christian Academy (KCA) in grades preschool through 12 have collected a mountain of recyclables in a plastics drive this spring.
The collection is the result of a project organized by fourth grade teacher Kari Moorhead and her students in the Recycling Club. She does some form of recycling event each year with her students, but this has turned out to be the most successful drive in her 10 years of teaching.
“I couldn’t believe the response,” said Moorhead.
The Recycling Club students came up with this year’s plastics drive project on their own after much thought and consideration.
Three groups of students competed to see who could collect the most: the Trash Talkers, the Plastic Police, or the Dumpster Divers. Collaborative teams were made up of students across grade levels. Trash Talkers included 3rd, 4th, 8th, 9th, and 10th grades. Dumpster Divers were in 1st, 2nd, 5th, and 6th. Preschoolers, kindergartners, 7th, 11th, and 12th graders formed the Plastic Police group.
They began collecting plastic containers with symbols #1 and #2 (with bottle necks) back on February 3 before COVID-19 closed schools for the remainder of the school year.
Donations included containers for water, juice, milk, detergent, soft drinks, syrup, cat litter, and more. They collected from family, friends, neighbors, and others in the community for six weeks through March 13.
In that brief time, the students collected 445 large garbage bags stuffed full of recyclable plastic. The containers were stored upstairs in the school in the science lab.
The Recycling Club thoroughly cleaned the bottles and containers to prepare them for processing with the assistance of 4th, 5th, 6th graders, freshmen, and sophomores. The consensus among students was that the chocolate milk bottles were “the worst” and “smelliest” to clean.
Moorhead said the response was “overwhelming” and when students get back to school, all three groups will be rewarded for their efforts with a Kona Ice treat.
Billy Basham from RDS (Recycling and Disposal Solutions) of Roanoke arranged for dumpsters to be brought to the school to collect the plastics for recycling.
On May 15 five students (Kinley Graham, Josephine Mullen, Bindi Whitenack, Diya Patel, and Ryan Farris) along with Moorhead— all outfitted in gloves and masks– drug the packed garbage bags from the second floor of the school to the nearby field, built the mountain of garbage bags visible to motorists on King Street, posed for some photos, and then emptied the bags of plastics into a dumpster supplied by RDS, who had agreed to transport the plastics to a recycling center.
The original plan was to build the mountain of recyclables right after spring break, but that was not possible given the pandemic.
Moorhead said KCA Administrator Jessica Robb was very supportive, and really let the recycling students “go wild and even let them use some of their science time for the project.”
KCA is a newly established ministry of the Parkway House of Prayer located on King Street in Roanoke. The school ministry is designed to serve Christian parents who desire a Christian education for their children. KCA’s educational process is centered on the development of their students’ ability to translate the different facets of their educational experience into Christian living.
KCA teachers have been working from home sharing lessons with their students via Zoom on Mondays through Thursdays during the pandemic. The day care ministry has remained open serving the children of essential workers.
Moorhead’s first career was as an accountant, she said, “before God moved me into elementary education.” She wishes she “had heard His call sooner,” because she had never experienced “as much fulfillment and fun” as she has had teaching.
Moorhead said the mountain of garbage bags demonstrated what “our little school did to glorify God. I am sure God was pleased with what our students did.”