The city of Houston has made many efforts to put out messages to the public about the importance of recycling – but a recent one put the messaging in the hands of the younger generation, and a student was among those recently recognized by the city.
On Tuesday, the city recognized the four winners of the inaugural “I Recycle for Houston” truck art contest put on by the city’s Solid Waste Management Department, and the winners included Booker T. Washington High School freshman Elizabeth Crescenciano. She joined Tremayne Edwards from the Special Education Program at Lamar High School as well as second grader Celine Derya Tarhan from T.H. Rogers Elementary and eighth grader Angela Yax of Pine Oak Middle School.
The winners were revealed prior to the city’s Earth Day celebration last month, and recognized in front of city council on Tuesday afternoon.
“Their work will always be on public display as a reminder of education on recycling and how to recycle,” SWM director Mark Wilfalk said Tuesday. “We certainly look forward to many more (of these contests).”
For the contest, Wilfalk said students were challenged to create artwork meant to raise public awareness about support and education programming to focus on recycling. The contest encouraged students to think creatively about the importance of recycling and its impact on the environment, according to the city.
The department, Wilfalk said, received 170 total entries from 39 schools around the city for the contest that were eventually trimmed down to the four winners. A panel of judges selected the winners based on the student’s creativity, originality, and how well the artwork conveyed the message of recycling.
Crescenciano’s artwork was entitled “Eye Recycle” and showed an eye encased by the universal recycling symbol. There were initially going to be photos taken Tuesday, but due to the inclement weather the city has decided to wait and instead take the trucks by the students’ respective schools to put on display.
“"We are proud of all the students who submitted artwork, and I congratulate the winners on their passion for art and interest in recycling. It is heartening to see such amazing creativity and commitment to the environment," Wilfalk said last month when the winners were revealed. "This contest was an excellent way to engage young people and promote the importance of protecting our planet and natural resources. I also know the public will enjoy seeing the artwork on our vehicles."
Multiple city council members chimed in to congratulate the students, with Mayor Pro Tem Martha Castex-Tatum calling the contest her favorite campaign the city has done about the importance of recycling.
“It’s going to be a really nice surprise when they drive by your schools so that all your friends get to see what you’ve done,” said District C councilmember Abbie Kamin.
What’s more, council members said that having the younger generation be the ones to spread a message can only enhance its effectiveness. And they are hopeful that the contest will do the same for years to come.
“When young people and children are the communicators, adults learn,” District H councilmember Karla Cisneros said. “That’s a good way to deliver a message.”
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