GROTON — The Florence Roche Elementary School has a handful of students who are passionate about recycling, and they’ve banded together to form the school’s newest club.
Comprised of five fourth- graders, the club has only been around for a couple of weeks, but they are making their presence known, said school Principal Ruthann Goguen. She noted recycle-friendly posters that have sprung up around many of the hallways, along with colorful new signs on the school recycle bins, which illustrate what type of trash goes where.
Goguen said the school already has a recycling program, but she credited the new club with doing much to raise awareness on the important of that issue. While she’s been supportive of the new group, she also stressed this is very much a student-generated endeavor, one she’s happy to facilitate.
“As a principal part of my job is to help teach children, and I find different ways to do that,” she said. “One of the things I want to do is empower students to take an idea and make it a reality; this is their idea, and now they’re going to spread the news, and tell all the other kids about it.”
That’s what students from the club were doing on May 11, when they visited all four kindergarten classrooms in the school, giving tips on the importance of recycling and being eco-friendly.
Spending about 10 minutes in each classroom, the five club members, all girls, said it’s important to save trees by recycling, along with advising their peers against being litter bugs. They was accompanied at each stop by Goguen, who said the students will eventually speak to every classroom in the school and she’s optimistic this will be the start of something big.
“What we want to do is make this club a school wide event,” she said. “These girls were instrumental in bringing this club to me … but we want everyone to be part of this effort.”
Asked about their part in starting the club, students traced the idea back to Earth Day, when teachers Mrs. Potter and Mrs. Nissi assigned learning more about the environment as a homework. Having done that assignment, the students soon found a way they could get involved, explained fourth grader Gillian Lindquist.
“We were in the art room one day and we saw there were no recycle bins,” she said.
“That’s a place where you need recycle bins,” added classmate Nicole Bozkurt.
Alongside classmates Katelyn McKiel and Ashley Barron, the students brought that issue to the attention of a teacher, they were advised to speak with Goguen on the matter. She said the recycling club was an outcome of that meeting. The group quickly added another member, fourth grader Alexis Ferraro, who completed her Earth Day assignment by making fliers that urge everything from tree planting to water and electricity conservation.
With a large recycle bin now installed in the art room, club members said they’re planning to make more posters and signs for the school, which feature variations of the theme: Reduce, reuse, recycle. While they’re just at the start of things now, Lindquist was hoping that will have a big impact.
“We want our school to be more green,” she said.