Purdy High School has gained national recognition among the top paper manufacturers in the United States for their recycling program, which has, in the last five and a half years, processed over 360,000 pounds of material.
Don Hughes, general manager of Smurfit-Stone Recycling Division, a St. Louis-based company, was on hand at Utopian Bean in Purdy to present the award and a $2,000 check to members of the Purdy Spanish Club, the program's founding organization.
Hughes, whose company is a member of the American Forest and Paper Association of Washington D.C., said the Purdy High School program had gained the attention of some of the nation's top leaders in the paper industry for their efforts. The school ranked first out of over 200 entries from 43 states.
Gary Wass, Spanish instructor and program sponsor, said that student officers in Spanish Club were responsible for working designated days at the recycling center, which is open on the first and third Saturdays of the month.
Although the Purdy community fully supports the student-run program, students continue to strive to meet higher standards in the recycling industry.
"We never imagined that we would grow to be one of the country's only student-run, industrial recycling programs," Wass said. "We insisted on making money, not just giving away materials in the name of community service."
Members of Purdy High School's Youth Empowerment and Leadership Program (YELP) with 50 or more hours of community service were also recognized at the event. They included Jacey Staponski, Avigail Ibarra, Esmerelda Perez, Cynthia Salas, Isel Iberra, Stephanie Brown, Reese Hilburn, Jesus Perez, Ashlea Formaz, Preleen Cochran, James Schad, Colten Coy and Dawson Fulp.