Two local elementary schools made television news last Thursday, and both received recognition for making a difference in the community.
Maxwell Elementary School received the "Time To Care" award from WRDW News Channel 12 and Thomson Elementary School received the "Giving Your Best" award from WJBF News Channel 6. Both schools will be featured throughout the month in a 30-second PSA on the respective station.
TIME TO CARE
Judith Hodges is a busy mom at Maxwell Elementary School. Mrs. Hodges coordinates the school's recycling efforts which turns trash into cash for the school.
"She exemplifies everything the award says," Principal Donna Bennett said. "We use the money to off-set supplies, as budgets were cut this year."
Mrs. Hodges encourages students to save their non-recyclable packaging, such as drink pouches, chip bags and soda bottle caps. Sporting a pink shirt that says "Dumpster Diva," Mrs. Hodges collects the trash, sorts and mails it to Terracycle. The company then pays Maxwell Elementary money for the amount of trash they send. "She works two to three days a week," first grade teacher Carol Harris said. "She comes with her wagon and goes up and down the hall, picking up the trash from every classroom. It's not a once-a-month deal. She's working hard."
When she's not collecting trash, Mrs. Hodges is working to help the students remember not to throw their trash away. Another mother, Alice Gary, helps her. The two ladies wear their pink t-shirts, or they've had some others made that reveal things like "Saving the world, one Capri Sun at a time."
They also have contests to encourage participation. Some contests have big prizes, such as a house at the beach for a weekend, while others have smaller prizes such as a sticker.
"She really keeps it out there as much as possible, so they remember to bring it in," Mrs. Bennett said.
WRDW News Anchor Richard Rogers visited the school and interviewed Mrs. Hodges. The interview was to air on television May 5.
GIVING YOUR BEST
Thomson Elementary students also participate in Terracycle's trash for cash program. The students described it on a story board for WJBF News Channel 6. Other programs the third graders wrote about include collecting supplies for the local animal shelter, collecting canned food for "It's Spooky To Be Hungry," delivering Christmas gifts to residents at Thomson Health and Rehabilitation Center, holding a sock hop to raise funds for Relay For Life, jumping rope to raise funds for the American Heart Association, hosting a book fair to raise money to buy books for needy children, collecting soda can tabs for the Ronald McDonald House, planting flowers around the school property, and selling Valentine bears to raise money for school field trips.
"They wrote everything themselves. I let them come up with it all," third grade QUEST teacher Sara "Sally" Jones said.
When Megan Bradberry from WJBF called to say they were coming to the school, the third graders became even busier preparing for a dramatization that would show what all they do.
They ended up dressing in costumes and walking the cameraman all over the school to re-create their projects.
"It took us two hours to make a 30-second commercial," Mrs. Jones said with a laugh.
The 26 QUEST students were "totally involved" in the project and thought of everything they needed to bring from home and how it could be used.
"The news team was really complimentary and said we had elaborate props," Mrs. Jones said.