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Good news from schools: Gwinnett Schools' lunch tray recycling program wins award

Gwinnett County Public Schools has recently received national recognition for its lunchtime recycling efforts.

The Polystyrene Lunch Tray Recycling Program has received the Outstanding K-12 School Program Award from the National Recycling Coalition. The school district received the honor for its launch and successful operation of the environmentally-friendly program.

"One lunch tray at a time, Gwinnett County Public Schools students are learning how to be kind to mother nature by participating in an innovative recycling program, a first in Georgia schools," a news release states.

The school district launched the program after the school system's Department of Environmental and Supply Services recognized the mounting material that was being sent to the landfill each day, the news release states. So Georgia's largest school system teamed up with Evergreen Partnering Group, which set up the first polystyrene recycling facility in Georgia.

The Lunch Tray Recycling Program launched in August 2006 with 28 schools on a school-by-school voluntary basis. That first year of operation, 59,609 students helped to recycle a total of 6,339,000 trays, or 38.4 percent of the total trays used. Four more schools joined the initiative in August, and 45 schools are now part of the recycling program.

Notre Dame Academy students bring hristmas joy to foster children

Sixth-graders at Notre Dame Academy recently hosted a breakfast with Santa for the young children that The Foster Children's Foundation serves.

More than 75 foster children were greeted Dec. 8 by the Notre Dame students, who decorated a Christmas tree, set up a crafts area and set up a "store" of donated items for the foster children to shop for gifts for their foster families.

Everyone in attendance was treated to a buffet breakfast from the Foundation.

"It was wonderful to see a foster child, who looked timid when they came in, smiling and holding hands with students by the end of the event," said Loretta Manning, a parent volunteer. "The students were able to see that change in the children, and they were able to see that, indeed, they had made a difference."

Collins Hill students perform at Disney World

The Collins Hill High School choir students became stars of their own Disney show Nov. 29 when they took the stage at the America Gardens Theater. They traveled from Suwanee to the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida to take part in Disney Magic Music Days.

Choral ensembles from throughout the country apply to perform each year as part of Disney Magic Music Days. Once selected, ensembles are given the opportunity to perform at the resort for an international audience of theme park guests.

Disney Magic Music Days is part of Disney Performing Arts Programs, which offer band, choral, dance and auxiliary performers the opportunity to learn, perform and compete at the Walt Disney World Resort.

Heather Darenberg writes about education. Good News From Schools appears in the Sunday edition of the Gwinnett Daily Post.