Living Columns & Blogs

Recycling poster winners announced

Abigail Bigger, Gray’s Woods Elementary School
Abigail Bigger, Gray’s Woods Elementary School Photo provided

With all of the political talk out there, I wanted to bring a feel-good story to the table. I love to be the bearer of good news every once in a while, and 12 Centre County fifth-graders have made my month a little brighter.

On Oct. 3, National Anti-Bullying Day, the Centre County Recycling & Refuse Authority, along with Weis Markets, kicked off a poster contest that was open to all fifth-grade students in Centre County. The students were asked to design a poster around the theme “How My Buddies and I Recycle.” We received hundreds of entries, and on Nov. 1, 12 posters and artists were selected as our winners.

I would like to congratulate the following students for their winning posters: Jillian Stoltz, Benner Elementary School; Abigail Bigger, Gray’s Woods Elementary School; Niziah Noone, Howard Elementary School; John Walters, Marion Walker Elementary School; Andrew Lebedev, Mount Nittany Elementary School; Quentin Muirhead, Mountaintop Area Elementary School; Jessica Wallace, Park Forest Elementary School; Marlee Butterworth, Philipsburg-Osceola Middle School; Brenda St. Clair, Pleasant Gap Elementary School; Joseph Jones, Port Matilda Elementary School; Ana Heflen-Wood, Radio Park Elementary School; and Marlando Jones, Wingate Elementary School.

The 12 winning posters will be made into a 2017 “How My Buddies and I Recycle” wall calendar that will be distributed to all fifth-grade students in Centre County next month. The calendars will also be available free of charge at our five local Weis stores.

In addition to having their artwork appear in a calendar, the students have each won a Buddy Bench for their school. A Buddy Bench is a relatively new concept — a simple idea to reduce loneliness and foster friendship on the playground. Children who are feeling lonely or left out can sit on the Buddy Bench as a means to let others know they are looking for a friend to play with. And as a special bonus, each Buddy Bench is made from 10,000 recycled plastic bags recycled at Weis Markets and formed into lumber.

We honored all 12 students at an awards ceremony that was held on Tuesday, America Recycles Day, at the Weis in Bellefonte. At the ceremony, each student was presented with a framed picture of their poster as well as a $25 Weis gift card.

We were so excited to offer this opportunity to our local fifth-graders. The Buddy Bench can be seen as a legacy left behind at their elementary school as they move onto the next phase of their education.

Amy Schirf is education coordinator for the Centre County Recycling and Refuse Authority. Contact her at