Richmond County Daily Journal
The first Keep America Beautiful Contest ended at East Rockingham Elementary School on Friday, April 26, with numerous fourth graders taking home various cash prizes.
The event was sponsored by East Rockingham and the Richmond County Keep America Beautiful Club and included a speech from Brenda Ewadinger, executive director for Keep NC Beautiful, and presentations from Jackie McAuley, administrative assistant for Richmond County Soil and Water Conservation District, and C.C. King, regional education specialist for the North Carolina Wildlife Resource Commission.
Keep America Beautiful is a nonprofit that attempts to engage individuals to take greater responsibility for improving the environment through recycling and waste reduction.
Fourth graders were asked to create a poster about recycling.
Ewadinger said a contest like this, “… brings awareness that they (the students) have a responsibility to not litter. They make a personal commitment to not harm the environment by their actions.”
The presentations began with a speech by fourth grader Thomas Barbee who talked about what recycling means to him. He said recycling means clean water and soil for everyone.
Ewadinger said there are three focuses to help the environment; waste reduction, recycling and composting. She warned the students against littering. “Litter is just misplaced trash,” she said.
McAuley talked about the importance of learning where and how we grow and raise our food. She used an apple to demonstrate how much drinkable water and fertile soil we have on the Earth.
King put on a play in which her son acted like a fisherman who didn’t dispose of a piece of garbage when he left the fishing hole. Then, her son played a bear who happened upon the garbage and began to eat. King warned that garbage left out allows wildlife to get adapted to human food and could potentially lure them into the yards of residents. King said there are four things that make a habitat; food, water, shelter and space.
The winners were announced by class and the students received cash prizes. First place won $25, second place won $15 and third place won $10.
In Valeria Watson’s class; Letticia Ocampo won first place, Skye Kegley won second place and Hector Godinez-Castro won third. In Nicole Johnson’s class; Jada Smith won first place, Kayden Knight won second place and Thomas Barbee won third. In Haley Hall’s class; Preston Dawkins won first place, Ervin Cruz Cadena Perez won second place and Summer McLaughlin won third place. In Heather Gerald’s class; Tyler Michael won first place, Katelyn Millen won second place and Sandra McLester won third place. In Melanie Cockerton’s class; Sierra Mullis won first place, Elizabeth Greene won second place and Jourdyn Biehl won third place.
There were three honorable mentions who won a Burger King gift card. Those students were Gabriel Stimmel, Hunter Price and Nicholas Grooms.
Diane Strickland said she got the idea for the event because she had seen the contest done in the past and “… didn’t want it to stop. I wanted to keep it going.”
The prize money came from Larry Harreson, president of Richmond County Keep America Beautiful Club and Chris Turner, president of the Parent Teacher Organization at East Rockingham. Harreson gave $200 and Turner gave $50.
Strickland wanted to thank Harreson, Turner and also Wayne Webb, who was a presenter at the event.
Staff Writer Laura Edington can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 18, or by email at email@example.com.