Nation/World


WEDNESDAY, MARCH 26, 1997

Youngsters Have No Time For Waste Recycling Honor Among Awards Given 55 Youths At Ceremony

They’re only fourth-graders, but they’re out to save the world.

With little help from teachers and parents, four Sunrise Elementary students have started a recycling program at school.

Nobody told them to do it. No one even asked.

“We wanted to save the environment,” said Kevin Johnson, 10.

With no other incentive but to protect the planet, the boys wrote to environmental agencies and started a schoolwide recycling campaign.

On Tuesday night, their efforts were honored with a Chase Youth Award for Environmental Concern.

Johnson, Nate McVay, Billy Nafsinger and Scott Thompson accepted the award to the applause of more than 600 people at the Spokane Opera House.

“I’m proud of them,” said Lynda Zachrison, their teacher at Sunrise Elementary. “They have an unusual interest and commitment to the environment. I’ve never seen kids take anything this far.”

The boys were among 55 Spokane area youths who received a Chase Youth Award, honoring those who “exhibit strength of character.” They were chosen from hundreds of nominations submitted by teachers, parents and the public.

This year, the awards - named after a former Spokane mayor - were divided into two groups: the youth division (kindergartners to sixth-graders) and the teen division (grades seven through 12).

“All the kids were exceptional,” said Jennifer Rogalla, a judge for the teen division who spent many hours reading letters of recommendation. “It was so difficult (to make a decision). There were so many outstanding kids.”

Zachrison, who nominated her students, was surprised when they first expressed their interest in the environment.

The boys started with recycling reports in October. In November, they began picking up litter on the schoolyard.

Now, the four have a map of Sunrise Elementary complete with Xs to mark the locations of recycling bins. In their own neighborhoods, they go door-to-door collecting newspaper, plastic and other recyclable materials. They also help clean area streets.

“You don’t often see this,” said Ann Murphy, a recycling education specialist who works with the students. “These boys want to go out there and make a difference.”

Murphy was one of many who were impressed from the very beginning. She still recalls their shy, youthful voices on the phone, asking for free recycling bins. She also has kept their letters - handwritten notes in pencil detailing their progress.

With help from their parents, the boys bring the material to recycling plants. Then they use the money to build compost bins for others.

“It’s a good thing to teach other kids how to recycle,” said 9-year-old McVay.

The judges don’t usually give an individual award to a group, but they made an exception for the Sunrise Elementary fourth-graders.

“They were so young,” said Susan Rowe-Adler, one of the judges in the youth division. “These four boys were so involved. They did a great job, and they were so enthusiastic.”

There were other inspiring stories Tuesday night: Katelin Tanner, a 10-year-old who won the entrepreneurship award for starting her own sunflower business; Whitney Porter, the community service award recipient who wants to someday cure AIDS and autism; De’Andrey Mosby, a dropout who returned to school and is now a leader at Rogers High.

“It was phenomenal,” said Keely Mumford, a youth division judge. “It’s hard to believe they’re accomplishing so much at such a young age.”

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Color photo

MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: AWARD RECIPIENTS Youth Division (K-6) Courage Lloyd Fulton, third grade, Medical Lake Elementary. Leadership - Joanna Repsold, sixth grade, Pratt Elementary. Entrepreneurship - Katelin Tanner, second grade, Freeman Elementary. Environmental Concern - Billy Nafsinger, Scott Thompson, Kevin Johnson, Nate McVay, fourth grade, Sunrise Elementary. Community Service - Whitney Porter, fourth grade, Seth Woodard Elementary. Citizenship - Shelly Wagner, fourth grade, Woodridge Elementary. Personal Achievement - Seth Christianson, second grade, Skyview Elementary. Creativity - Alyssa Jordan, sixth grade, Pratt Elementary. Group Award - the Helping Hearts: Sarah Brogden, Valorie Darling, Sara DeCristoforo, Sara Richardson, Arielle Ring, sixth grade, Mullan Road Elementary.

Teen Division (7-12) Personal Achievement - De’Andrey Mosby, 12th grade, Rogers High School. Leadership - Holly Arsenault, 12th grade, Ferris High School. Entrepreneurship - Ben Mosier, ninth grade, Evergreen Junior High. Environmental Concern - Dale Wentworth, ninth grade, West Valley High School. Courage - Darren Mattozzi, 12th grade, Lakeside High School. Community Service - Latisha Stephens, 12th grade, Rogers High School. Citizenship - Adrienne Isgrigg, eighth grade, Liberty School. Creativity - Megan Harris, 11th grade, Mead. Group Award - The CAP cadets (7-12) Civil Air Patrol volunteers. Jim Chase Memorial Award for an Outstanding Adult - Ken Jernberg, Crosswalk, Volunteers of America.

This sidebar appeared with the story: AWARD RECIPIENTS Youth Division (K-6) Courage Lloyd Fulton, third grade, Medical Lake Elementary. Leadership - Joanna Repsold, sixth grade, Pratt Elementary. Entrepreneurship - Katelin Tanner, second grade, Freeman Elementary. Environmental Concern - Billy Nafsinger, Scott Thompson, Kevin Johnson, Nate McVay, fourth grade, Sunrise Elementary. Community Service - Whitney Porter, fourth grade, Seth Woodard Elementary. Citizenship - Shelly Wagner, fourth grade, Woodridge Elementary. Personal Achievement - Seth Christianson, second grade, Skyview Elementary. Creativity - Alyssa Jordan, sixth grade, Pratt Elementary. Group Award - the Helping Hearts: Sarah Brogden, Valorie Darling, Sara DeCristoforo, Sara Richardson, Arielle Ring, sixth grade, Mullan Road Elementary.

Teen Division (7-12) Personal Achievement - De’Andrey Mosby, 12th grade, Rogers High School. Leadership - Holly Arsenault, 12th grade, Ferris High School. Entrepreneurship - Ben Mosier, ninth grade, Evergreen Junior High. Environmental Concern - Dale Wentworth, ninth grade, West Valley High School. Courage - Darren Mattozzi, 12th grade, Lakeside High School. Community Service - Latisha Stephens, 12th grade, Rogers High School. Citizenship - Adrienne Isgrigg, eighth grade, Liberty School. Creativity - Megan Harris, 11th grade, Mead. Group Award - The CAP cadets (7-12) Civil Air Patrol volunteers. Jim Chase Memorial Award for an Outstanding Adult - Ken Jernberg, Crosswalk, Volunteers of America.


 
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