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>Moonachie Students Use Discarded Items to Decorate Christmas Tree

>Recycled items deck the halls in this school

THE RECORD
Monday, December 15, 2008

BY JOHN A. GAVIN

MOONACHIE — The theme this year at the Robert L. Craig School has been recycling — reusing old items that otherwise would be discarded.

There are trash receptacles made of soda cans, Styrofoam food containers that now store paint, and a collection bin for used batteries.

But perhaps the most innovative idea is a 6-foot tall Christmas tree. It is a work of art designed by students using a secondhand ladder as its base; outfitted with cardboard tubing as a dowel; and decorated with bottle caps, string, old CDs and green transparent bags once used to hold The Record newspaper.

In fact, all the holiday décor at the Craig School has taken on a recycling theme, with wreaths, mini trees and menorahs ornamented with bottle caps, buttons, worn pipe cleaners and those green bags.

“I want them to have an appreciation for art,” said Lee Ten Hoeve, an art teacher, who came up with the theme: “Reduce, Re-Use, Recycle.”

“I know that everyone doesn’t have a talent for drawing, but they can be creative and become a problem solver,” she said.

At the 285-student school, youngsters used junk mail to design collages and created an American flag using bottle caps as the stars and scrap paper for the stripes. They wore hand-me-down hospital scrubs as smocks while painting and pasting.

“It’s good for the environment.” said James Pichardo, 12, a seventh-grader. “We need to recycle a lot of things.”

That theme will also be relayed in the school’s Christmas musical, “Have a Green Holiday,” an original script about the environment that students will perform Dec. 23.

Jillian Mazzo, 12, has persuaded her mom to make homemade Christmas wreaths and said she has already learned an invaluable lesson.

“Not only should we recycle, but it’s good for the economy, too,” Jillian said. “We need to help go green and use [the green] plastic bags as much as we can.”

At school, secretaries and support staff have also caught on, making double-sided photocopies and using small note pads instead of full sheets of paper to write memos.

“It brings an awareness to all the school,” said Mark Solimo, the school’s superintendent and principal.

Alejandra Torres, 12, was philosophical about the importance of saving the environment.
“If we don’t recycle soon, the trash in the landfills will overflow,” she said. “It would be bad for all living creatures. &hellip It’s really going to affect our generation and our kids.’ “

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