ILC Students Recycle


Emily Gleason

KEEPING CREEK GREEN: Sophomore Thorin Foster helps dump out recycling bins in the East building. Creek’s current recycling program is run by ILC students, who help empty out bins every week.

Gabby Clark, Staff Writer

During class, you may have heard commotion in the hallways of East; it may be from LJ Patoc, a paraeducator collecting recyclables with students from the Integrated Learning Center (ILC).

“We have fun, I’ll sing songs, I’ll play a little bit of music,” Patoc said. “I’ll do funny things while we walk through the hallways just to keep them engaged.”

The ILC is a program for students with disabilities at Creek. Students in the ILC work with their teachers to work towards being more independent, and one of the ways they do that is by having them run the recycling in the East building. A paraeducator, like Patoc, takes kids in the ILC program down the hallways collecting recyclables from recycling bins.

Creek’s current contract with the cleaning company does include recycling. However, according to CCSD Energy and Environmental Manager Kale Johnston, Creek has chosen to have students from ILC take care of the recycling instead.

“I think it’s an awesome way to get students involved,” Johnston said.

Student’s involvement in the recycling program is unique to Creek, and according to Johnston, it’s proven to be effective.

“[Creek] is the only high school that I’m aware of that has asked the cleaning company to leave the recycle bins for the students to empty,” Johnston said. Johnston went on to say that Creek’s recycling system is also noteworthy for its efficiency. “I can’t know for sure, but from my perspective, CCHS is ahead of the curve as far as recycling goes.”

Every Friday, these students, along with a peer mentor, go around the East building collecting recyclables from the classroom recycling bins. Many students and staff have given positive feedback towards these students and their charity.

“They all seem to enjoy it,” East Resource Center assistant Kelly Albada said. “They’re very respectful. They do their job quickly; it’s a good way to learn different things along the way.”

Not only have adults noticed the contributions ILC has given but also General Education peers additionally notice their work.

“I’m grateful for it,” freshman Micah Hernandez said. “It is contributing to society and [these students] are playing their part.”

Aside from helping the community, ILC students get the opportunity to work towards self-reliance and skills that might be helpful later in life. According to Patoc , the assisted hands-on work that students do now with their teachers puts them on the path for future independence.

“I always like looking at it from the social aspect, where [these students] get to go into classes and say ‘hi’ to teachers and some of the classmates that they share in different classes,” said Patoc, who oversees the program. “I like the fact that we work towards independence.”

The district has recently taken action to improve its recycling system by purchasing recycling bins for every office and classroom. They did not have to purchase any for Creek because of a fundraiser the school hosted a few years back, according to Johnston.

“Creek already had bins in place and didn’t require any,” Johnston said. “They held a fundraiser a few years ago and raised enough money to purchase bins for the whole school.”

Although there are many moving parts to the school’s recycling system, ILC students do their share, which contributes to having a more environmentally friendly earth.

“The more that we can recycle and reuse, the less trash that we have,” environmental science teacher Amy Huyink said. “The more that we can reuse [materials], then the less that we’re having to fill up in landfills.”