Locker clean-out goes green at Avonworth

Avonworth High School students Tom Hricik, Ryan Hart, A.J. Mang and Tanner Zahren recycle used school supplies at the end of the school year to help students in the future. Photo by Tom Steiner for The Citizen

Locker clean-out.

It's part of students' end-of-year rituals. Sort of the ultimate "No more pencils, no more books…" chant that dates back decades as a year's worth of notebooks, folders, pens and pencils often get a quick pitch into one of the many trash containers stationed throughout school hallways.

Some sophomores at Avonworth High School--Tom Hricik, Ryan Hart, A. J. Mang and Tanner Zahren--saw those trash containers filling up with school supplies and, with minimal adult input, launched a project that will recycle those materials by making them available to students when they return to classes in September.

Tom, the organizer of the project, said that as he watched students discarding perfectly usable items, he realized "…how much waste is generated each year, natural resources as well as money."

He contacted faculty members, asking them to encourage students to set aside "gently used" supplies, and then he set about collecting them.

First to sign on to Tom's team, A. J. said, "I saw Tom doing it and it looked cool. I told him I'd help."

The students taped recycle symbols on large boxes that they placed in classrooms throughout the school. On the last three days of school, they collected the rescued supplies, sorted them and then moved the materials to a storage area.

"The idea is that when school starts, we'll have big crates of supplies in the student lobby. People will be able to just go there and pick out what they want or need," Tom said. "It's a good way to help friends, but it's for everybody, middle school through high school. I hope that people will be willing to save and donate even more things next year."

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