IV HIGH: the Key Club recycling program makes the difference | Open

Natalia Montoya, 17, collects recycling through the Key Club Recycling Program at Southwest High School. PHOTO GISSELLE DUARTE

From collecting plastic bottles to recycling them, the Key Club Recycling Program found a way to keep their environment clean and took a step forward to bring change to our community this year at Southwest High School.

Key Club is a student-run service club affiliated with Kiwanis International where members can make a difference in their school, community, and the lives of others. The club’s service projects, such as its recycling program, can help develop leadership skills for members who participate, and they can also make lifelong friends.

Key Club counselor Claire Machado said the group started a recycling program because they saw a waste problem at the school.

“The purpose of the Key Club recycling program is to support our environment. We want to encourage our school and our community to recycle and go green,” Machado said. “We noticed that recycling bins in classrooms and everywhere were overflowing with plastic and cans, so we solved that problem by creating a recycling project.”

“Right now, we currently have 10 large blue recycling bins spread across campus and 44 cardboard recycling boxes in classrooms,” she said.

Key Club members collect their materials by coming into classrooms during consultations every Friday to check their recycling boxes and collect the plastic. Once all the plastic is collected, they insert a new plastic bag into the box and bring all the collectibles to Machado’s classroom. On Friday afternoons, members walk around campus and check all the large recycling bins to separate and sort materials outside the cafeteria after school.

Hailey Aponte, 17, has been with the Key Club for three years and currently serves as president. It’s his job to make sure everything is smooth and organized. Aponte first joined the club in her second year and has continued to participate because she wants to help the community.

Aponte said she wants future Key Club members to continue the recycling program. She wants the club to do more big projects to make a difference in the community.

“Right now I would say we collect about three or four bags full of recycling on average,” she said. “It’s with uncrushed bottles and cans so it doesn’t take up more space, but you’d be surprised at how much plastic we now know kids were throwing away because of our program.”

Natalia Montoya, a 17-year-old junior, said serving the community is important to the Key Club and encourages her to want to be a part of it.

“Serving the community is important because it impacts especially our little town, El Centro, which we call home, so let’s serve it and treat it like home,” she said.

Nicole Byon, a 16-year-old junior, said one of the main reasons she joined Key Club was because her friends joined, but she stayed a member because she enjoys the benefits the club has. has on the community.

“One of the major legacies that I hope Key Club achieves, especially with our retraining project, is all that we were able to do with just two counselors and about 50 to 60 students,” Byon said. “I hope this will encourage more students to continue to enroll and grow the Key Club.”

“I think it will be great for all students on campus to know that Key Club is an all-inclusive student service club that will help anyone make a difference in our school, our community, and the lives of others,” Machado said. .