Olney Adventist Preparatory School, in Olney, Maryland, is presently in sixth place in a nationwide recycling contest called The Dream Machine Recycle Rally sponsored by PepsiCo, Waste Management, and Keep America Beautiful. The halls of the school are filling with bags and boxes of plastic bottles, aluminum cans, and other recyclables, as the students race to win the $50,000 top prize for their school.
If they achieve their goal, this will not be their first award. Once a school collects a certain number of items, it earns Gift Cards to be used in green improvements. Each trimester, the five schools which collect the most items per student are awarded $3,000, and second trimester of this school year, Olney Prep reached that level. They are using that award to replace their present fluorescent lights with updated ones.
Adventist Today talked with Dana Audain, the middle school math and science teacher who is in charge of the project. When asked how and why the school became involved in this major undertaking, she said that the Recycle Rally helps both schools and veterans. The Recycle Rally website explains that from the recycled material, “PepsiCo is providing support to the EBV [Entrepeneurship Bootcamp for U.S. Veterans with Disabilities], a national program offering free, experiential training in entrepreneurship and small business management to post-9/11 veterans with disabilities so that our nation’s heroes can make their own dreams come true.”
While Olney Prep was motivated by the opportunity to teach students about stewardship of God’s earth and the chance to raise funds, Audain said, they were particularly interested in the fact that they could help others at the same time. “The kids love it! We have classroom competitions, and the Recycle Rally website has activities for classes, which teachers are taking advantage of.” The students have even made a PowerPoint presentation, featuring short videos of one student from each grade talking about the importance of recycling. It will be posted on YouTube soon.
AT asked Audain how this project relates to the students’ faith. She said that the school has many students who are not Adventists, so they have made the point that this is a Christian issue, caring for the earth God created and entrusted to us.
Olney Prep is presently partnering with Takoma Academy and Silver Spring Adventist church, as well as the Olney church, to help them reach their goal. And it is actively seeking more partners. If you know of a school, group, or church in the area who would like to help collect recyclables, if you would like flyers or posters, or if you just have more questions, please contact Dana Audain at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the school at 310-570-2500.
The $50,000 question: What will the school do with the grand prize if they win? They are in the enviable position of needing more space at their school because of its growing enrollment, so they hope to build a new facility. They want a gym, more and better classrooms, and of course, an environmentally sound building. Most of all, they want to more effectively achieve their mission: “We go above and beyond in treating children as individuals, academically, spiritually, socially, and physically.”
For more information about the school: www.olneyprep.org
About the contest: www.dreammachinerecyclerally.com
About the small business start-up program: www.dreammachinerecyclerally.com/about-rally/faq.html
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