Teacher and club advisor Gerry Wass and a group of students accepted the grant at the annual Rural Schools Partnership conference held on April 26 in Thomasville.
Purdy was one of 13 projects to be awarded $125,500 in grants from the Community Foundation of the Ozarks in partnership with the Louis L. and Julia Dorothy Coover Charitable Foundation Regional Grantmaking Program of Commerce Trust Company.
"The 3.5 kilowatt solar panel will not only make the recycling center building self-sufficient," said Wass. "It will also power the baseball field's scoreboard and the school's sign.
"We believe that it will be possible someday to grow our program to the point where it could provide part-time jobs," Wass said. "Right now, it's still volunteer. With the solar panels, we are trying to appeal to the community in a brand new way to show self-reliance. A rural community can power itself economically by taking money out of its trash."
The Purdy Recycling Project is an outgrowth of the Purdy High Spanish Club and involves students in Purdy's Youth Empowerment Project. The group also helped create the Purdy Renewal Project to promote sustainable community economic development efforts.
The program is made possible by the generosity of the late Mrs. Coover, a longtime Commerce Bank employee, who established the foundation in honor of her husband. Since its inception in 1992, the Coover Charitable Grantmaking program has awarded approximately $3.3 million to communities and schools across central and southern Missouri.