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The average student potentially generates almost five pounds of trash daily. Moreover, schools create thousands of pounds in plastic water bottles, paper notebooks, aluminum cans, and cardboard food packaging. 

It’s a cycle with no seeming end, yet Timpview FCCLA students John Mackay, Melanie Olivas, and Rachel Ryu are choosing to break that cycle. How? By choosing to recycle.

For those unfamiliar, Family, Career, and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) is a Career and Technical Student Organization that functions as an integral part of the Family and Consumer Sciences education curriculum and operates within the school system. While advisors manage, direct, and counsel students, FCCLA students put the work into marketing, organizing, and holding service-based projects like this one.

John, Melanie, and Rachel embarked on their FCCLA project after realizing the absence of a formal recycling system on Timpview premises. Their initial goal: introduce a recyclable option near trash receptacles and raise awareness through a marketing campaign to support their efforts. 

The three developed a series of touchpoints to increase awareness, drive interest, and call for action from their peers. First, the trio strategically positioned recycling boxes across the campus and utilized borrowed carts for easy student access and efficient collection. From there, they leveraged morning announcements to raise awareness. Then, they worked on web articles and social media posts to engage their school community. Lastly, these students collaborated with administrators and district officials to support the community in acting on their efforts. (This article, in fact, is the fruit of their efforts; their outreach to district sources led to this very article!)

John, Melanie, and Rachel left no stone unturned, no resource untapped, and no space for anything short of success. Students and teachers alike rallied behind the cause. What started as a student-led initiative soon became a schoolwide movement, with enthusiastic participants eager to contribute to a greener tomorrow. Ultimately, their school started from the bottom at a 0% recycling rate to an average of two to three 55-gallon bags per week, all sustained through a targeted campaign. 

It’s the sort of initiative that can take months of planning from district powers; slowing the cyclical process to implement a widespread change takes time and effort. And yet, these three students took the initiative to break from the norm and start something new, showing us that it’s never too late to change our ways for the better.

We invite parents, teachers, students, and administrators to join hands with us in our recycling efforts. Let’s turn the tide on waste and pave the way for a more sustainable future for Timpview High School and schools everywhere.

In the same spirit of their project, we invite you to take action. Here’s how you can help:

  • Look out for labeled recycling boxes around the school and make recycling a part of your daily routine.
  • Share our initiative on social media and inspire others to join the cause.
  • Reach out to us if you’d like to be part of our recycling team or have ideas to enhance our efforts.

John, Melanie, and Rachel’s recycling initiative is not just about collecting cans and papers; it’s about fostering a culture of environmental responsibility and community engagement. Their journey has shown us that small actions can lead to monumental change, and it’s a journey we can all be a part of. We thank our students for their efforts and look forward to whatever the future holds for them.

Spencer Tuinei
  • Communication Specialist
  • Spencer Tuinei

Besides Black History Month, February is a time in our district to celebrate Career and Technical...