Recycling Program Builds Life Skills


Seniors Macy Pleake and Carissa Cera emptying bins of paper, cardboard, bottles and cans.

Ryan Schnurr, Contributor

Every Friday throughout the school year, the infectious smiles of seniors Macy Pleake and Carissa Cera light up the hallways of Glenwood Community High School. Along with their instructor Bill Jacobitz, the two girls guide a blue recycling cart from room to room, emptying bins of paper, cardboard, bottles and cans.

“Studies have shown that work experience is one of the greatest predictors of success in future paid employment,” said Jacobitz who started the recycling project 13 years ago.

Using the environmentally positive process of recycling to teach work experience has been beneficial for the students involved and for the school as a whole.

“I have been recycling for four years, and I’ve really enjoyed it,” said Cera.

Around 40 of Jacobitz’s students over the years have participated in the weekly pickup, sorting and bagging of recyclable materials.

“I have fun and love to recycle,” said Pleake.

After the sorting is done, the Glenwood Resource Center Recycling Department picks up the large blue dumpster full of paper and cardboard.

The cans and bottles on the other hand, are bagged by the students, and Jacobitz himself puts them in his truck and delivers them to a recycling center in Omaha.

The recycling program provides more than work experience.

“Through the years, members of my recycling crew have learned skills such as following verbal directions, working until a task is complete, working with a variety of partners, working without direct supervision, entering a classroom without interrupting the class, and meeting a deadline,” said Jacobitz.

Jacobitz and his students aren’t the only ones who see advantages in this program. “Mr. J has been dedicated to the recycling program for many, many years,” said teacher Ann Greenfield. ”It is an excellent program that saves hundreds of pound of recyclables from ending up in the landfill each year. Staff and students owe them a big thank you!”

Students have also taken notice of the program.

“I think it’s a really good idea because it’s a way to be involved with something that’s a little bit different and it’s also good for the environment,” said junior Jaeda Wilson.