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Gonsalves Students Recycle Competition Nets $1,200


Students gather around the recyclables collected by fifth grade.


By Tammye McDuff

Gonsalves Elementary Earth Day 2016 recycling event and competition resulted in the school collecting over 1200 pounds of aluminum beverage cans, and plastic beverage containers.

For the last five years Gonsalves Student Council, which is comprised of 70 students, votes to enter the school in a recycling competition. Student Body Representative for sixth grade, Roshni says,” Me and my brother brought in five bags. Every Monday morning we have a school assembly and we remind everybody to collect cans and bottles,” she adds “each class representative reminds their own class to recycle.” Student Council helps ensure the bags are sorted to the correct grade level. Fifth grade representative Camille, says, “We ask kids to start saving at the beginning of the year. I think fifth grade will win again because we are really competitive.”

Before school began on Friday, April 22nd, parents and students could be seen hauling in numerous trash bags filled with cans and bottles. Principal Robert Benko commented, “We do this event for a couple of reasons, one to raise money for the school and the other to elevate awareness of being stewards of the Earth. Although we focus on academics a lot, we want our kids to be aware of a bigger picture, to conserve energy and promote social responsibility.”

The event is supported by the City of Cerritos through a state grant, which provides transportation, weighting and delivery of collected material. With the support from the City of Cerritos,” says Kevin Sales, owner of KJ Services, “all the weighting and transportation of the recyclables is taken care, making it possible for the school to get the full monetary amount.” Sales has been working as an Environmental Consultant for the City for a few years, “Gonsalves always collects more than any other school.”

“Last year the school received $1,000 for their collection event,” says fifth grade teacher Roxanne Smith, “every year we increase our goal and every year we meet and exceed it.”

Sherry Becker, Student Council advisor notes, “When you challenge these kids, they step up. Everyone wants to be a member of the student council. We have the largest elementary student council in the district,” Becker adds, “We have awesome students who are deeply involved in community service.”

Sales added, “We have been doing these events in the City for quite some time. But nobody beats Gonsalves. The kids get really into it and the parents are very supportive. We will sort the material by grade level. Then load it up and take to the recycling center. Then all the proceeds come back to the school. The grade level that wins receives an ice cream party.”

Benko reported to HMG-CN that the fifth grade class won again and the entire school recycled $1,200 this year.