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Recycling rewards

Hiawatha House, of Farnsworth Middle School, is the winner of the first Earth Day recycling competition sponsored by the school's environmental club.

Hiawatha edged out the other three houses Tawasentha, Seneca and Mohawk in a tight race, school officials said.

Tim Fry, a math and science teacher at FMS, and the Environmental Club's faculty mentor, said the competition was a great success.

"We recycled 2,200 batteries and 58 cell phones," Fry said. The competition also yielded 80 items to deliver to the Salvation Army.

"The thing they need most is jackets and 'hoodies' for teenagers," Fry said. They collected coats and sweatshirts in the last week of the competition.

"Some of the teachers really got into it, and the adults," he said.

Fry noted one student donated 200 batteries to Hiawatha House, helping them edge out the other three houses. He quipped that he was unsure what the student was doing with so many batteries to begin with, but was thankful for the donation.

The students participated in the competition leading up to Earth Day on Wednesday, April 22, and Hiawatha House will be presented with a video about recycling in their honor on that day, Fry said.

"The principal of the winning house will receive a 'Greeny Scepter,' a butterfly bush planted in the house's name and bragging rights until next year's competition," according to information from the district.

The Environmental Club at FMS is hosted the festivities that began on Monday, March 16.

"The goal of the four-week competition is to work as a community toward making [the middle school] more green, creating a sense of camaraderie within the four houses that make up the student body," according to information form the school district.

The first week, students pledged to do one thing to help the environment. More than 750 pledges were made the second week, included dressing up in green colored clothes to promote awareness of the environment, according to the district.

The third and fourth weeks were spent recycling.

Fry said one of the students in the Environmental Club suggested the competition based on competitions the four houses in the "Harry Potter" series participate in.

He commended the group for their leadership in the event, and said they are planning to work on the schools organic garden in the spring as their next project. All of the produce will be donated to local food panties, Fry said.

"Hopefully every year we will come up with a new project," Fry said.

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