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SHIRLEY -- Recycling and reuse are hot topics in local schools.

Incoming Ayer-Shirley Regional Middle School eighth-graders saw a need and took it on, planning, proposing and, ultimately, building three, three-foot-by-three-foot compost bins for the school.

AJ Mastrangelo and Alex Scheufele are part of United Way Youth Venture, coordinated at the school by teacher Kathryn Lyons. They were aided in the project by fellow team members Marcus Fields, Trevor Fields and Avery Burnham who coordinated fundraising.

Their proposal approved, Alex and AJ went to Moore's Lumber in Ayer for supplies. Moore's gave them a substantial discount and transported the supplies they needed for free, along with educating the boys on taking proper measurements and using correct materials.

The boys saw a need and took it on. With hard work, ingenuity, concern for their community, and some supervision, AJ and Alex built all three boxes.

The compost bins are now on the ASRMS parking lot by the gymnasium awaiting final placement.