Day in and day out, the beaming students of the Special Ed. department meet with their peer tutors, grab their carts and set off to do recycling. They diligently stop at every classroom and empty the bins, putting them back to be filled up again.
The paper they collect is taken out to the donated containers found by the seminary building where it’s picked up and weighed. Then fifteen dollars for every ton of paper is awarded to Mrs. Welsh, the severe unit teacher in charge of the paper recycling program at Fremont.
After collecting an average of 4 to 5 tons of paper including the boxes from the kitchen the students help unload and smash, she rewards the students that help recycle with a fun, end-of-year activity.
Julia Soleto is a student in the Special Ed. department. She says that emptying the recycling baskets is the best part of her day.
“It’s fun,” Soleto said with a grin at the mere mention of recycling.
Kalem Fields is also involved in the recycling program and he loves it. His favorite part of the process is “getting the recycling” and the end-of-year activity.
As the “Recycling Captain,” Fields pushes the cart and wears his favorite color.
“A green cape, a mask, and shorts,” he said, with a big and proud smile.
Fields also believes that recycling is a super power.
Mrs. Welsh isn’t the only teacher that uses her “super power” to pay for activities. Welding teacher, Mr. Ellertson, recycles soda cans throughout the year to fund a party for his students.
The recycling program is growing rapidly. Last fall, Fremont had one recycling container and by January there were two. Another was added quickly after and yet another may be on its way.
“Once you realize how important it is, you become excited about doing it,” Welsh said.
Illustration by Alicia Anderson; *After a year of hard work, Mrs. Welsh and her super powered students get ready for their end-of-year celebration