Students, staff collect plastic caps for Concord Intermediate School benches

Students, staff collect plastic caps for Concord Intermediate School benches

An initiative to fund the cost of several playground benches while helping keep plastic caps out of the landfill led to a project that will benefit Concord Intermediate School students and staff for years to come.

Last fall, Concord Intermediate School students, aided by community supporters, began the process of collecting plastic caps to create benches for the school.

To create a bench, groups must collect 200 pounds of caps. Once collected, the caps are turned in and benches are created  by Green Tree Plastics in Evansville, Indiana, using recycled materials. Each bench costs $300 to manufacture. The Dunlap Lion’s Club has generously covered the cost of the first three benches for Concord Intermediate School. In addition, Goshen-based Troyer Foods assisted by hauling the caps to Evansville and returning with the benches, saving staff from having to make the six-hour, one-way drive to Evansville, Prahl noted.

So far, four benches have been made and the Concord team has enough caps collected to order a fifth bench this summer. Three of the benches will be placed in front of the building along with plants, shrubs, flowers, etc. The fourth bench (along with any future benches) will be placed near the playground for students to be able to sit and talk.

“Our students have told us that they wish they had places to sit and hang out,” said science teacher Ryan Prahl. “We are pleased that this project will help make that possible.”

From left, Concord Intermediate School fifth-grade students Chelsee Huffman, Joy Donis, Kalynn Hughes, Anayaritza Dias-Rosales, Rheagan Schuler and Nataly Ocampo.

In addition, Concord Intermediate School students and staff signed up for the Green School Initiative of Elkhart County, where teams complete challenges each semester to be more green as a school.

“Not only are our students becoming more aware and trying to work to save resources, energy, and money, but they give cash prizes for the number of challenges we are able to complete,” Prahl explained.

The CIS Green Team, a group of staff members tasked with running the program, accomplished several recycling challenges and earned a total of 4 points. Those pointes translate a cash prize of $1,000 to spend on things for our school. This money may be used to pay for the manufacturing of future benches, unless another sponsor steps in and is able to help offset the price.

The pictures are of the group of students who have had help sort and bag the caps during their recess. They choose to help instead of play!

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