Sun May 29, 2011
By Lanz Christian Bañes
Bit by bit, the Federal Terrace Elementary School community quietly filled a big green and white bin at the edge of campus.
And though Principal Marisa Carbonell never publicized it, and never made a big deal out of the collection, the school nonetheless managed to win a national contest.
"I never would have thought it," Carbonell said last week, when USAgain announced that her school had collected the most used clothing and textiles in the month of April.
USAgain challenged the 354 schools across the country that had its collection bins to try to get the most clothing, textiles and shoes during "Earth Month."
Federal Terrace came in first place, collecting more than 1,800 pounds of stuff and receiving $500.
"I didn't even think it was possible with all the people entering," said fifth-grader Ezequiel Niebla, 11.
USAgain is an organization that collects used textiles and shoes for reuse or recycling, depending on the condition. The organization pays each campus 2 to 4 cents per pound of collected items.
"We've been doing the contest for four years, but this is the first year that Federal Terrace has been involved," USAgain spokesperson Jen Hirsch wrote in an email.
The second-place winner was a high school in Illinois, and a third was Antioch Middle School, just across the Carquinez Strait.
Since fall, all Vallejo schools have had the bins. Several placed in the top 20, including Solano Middle School (ninth place), Vallejo High (11th), Widenmann Elementary (15th), Springstowne Middle (16th) and Hogan High (19th). Benicia Middle School placed 13th.
Staff writer Tony Burchyns contributed to this report.
Contact staff writer Lanz Christian Bañes at (707) 553-6833 or firstname.lastname@example.org.