Spearhead by teacher Angie Gravitt and endorsed by principal Beth Holcomb, the school has made “Going Green,” more than a catch phrase.
“Several years ago, with the help of one of our teachers from the high school, we started our recycling program,” said Gravitt. “We started only with paper. Then we went to plastic and now we’re doing cans.”
Not only is Calhoun Primary trying to create a sustainable campus, it has developed a smart business model as well.
Local businesses buy the recycled plastic and paper and the Calhoun Fire Department makes a small donation for the cans.
More importantly to Gravitt is that the fire department sells the cans — along with many others donated by members of the community — to benefit the Georgia Firefighter’s Burn Foundation.
The foundation assists burn victims throughout the state.
“We’ve been putting all (recycling proceeds) into a fund and using this fund for campus beautification,” Gravitt said. “We’re getting the children involved in making the earth more beautiful.”
Staff and students have planted jasmine and knockout roses on the school grounds over the last couple of years.
The staff also shares a weekly “Green Tip,” and uses puppets and other characters to spread the message at school.
“Everything from turning off water, or lights when we’re not using them to things that can be recycled,” Gravitt said.
It turns out that students are spreading the message at home.
“The kids get so excited and I have had many parents come up to me and say ‘Your program is now making our family recycle and we’re becoming more earth friendly,’” Gravitt said.
For Holcomb, the “greening” of the school, is another step in helping children understand what it means to be a responsible citizen.
“I think the message being put out here is pretty invaluable,” she said.