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First Earth Day Held at Individualized Learning Center

PHOTO GALLERY: Friday was a great example at Rockwood School District's Individualized Learning Center in Eureka of incorporating sustainable living into high school curriculum while also giving back to the community.

Some well-meaning students and teachers in Eureka explored their green thumbs and recycling skills Friday during the first-ever Earth Day Celebration at the .

They also launched a permanent recycling activity by becoming a new drop-off location in Eureka for , an initiative started by a Fenton-based man through which donated shoes are turned into funding to create water wells in Africa.

ILC is for students who are 16 years or older and are struggling with finishing high school for a variety of reasons. Part of the ILC requirements are community service hours and volunteerism, which fit perfectly with the overall concept of annual Earth Day observations. ILC teams hand-painted pots on Friday, then planted a variety of flowers in them so they all could be donated to Marymount Manor retiremement center in Eureka, said ILC senior Tim Ligue.

Zac Baker, an ILC junior from Ellisville, estimated they would prepare 80 flower pots before the project was done.

Students also hosted a thrift store at ILC Friday, for which they brought in a spectrum of products to sell, such as dishes, luggage, clothing, purses and house goods. "It's better to resell items instead of throwing them out," said Destinee Clemons, an ILC senior, who explained the impetus for the thrift effort.

"I think it's (the thrift store) wonderful," said Sharon Strollo, a customer and ILC secretary. "The way they displayed the items makes them easy to see. They did a great job. They sold me!"

For two weeks prior to Friday's concerted activities, ILC staff and students collected old computer parts, cell phones, electronics and small applicances to avoid them going into landfills, said ILC junior Nichole Chellis, a Wildwood resident. She said the items would be taken to the Earth Day Celebration being held in Forest Park for recycling.

ILC drama class students researched which celebrities had taken up "green causes." The project resulted in posters about developments such as Sarah McLachlan's commitment to American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA); Oprah Winfrey's tie to Habitat For Humanity; and Brad Pitt's pledge to rebuild New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina through the Make It Right program.

Language Arts students created a magnetic poetry wall in one hallway to demonstrate how not to use paper for all projects.

Even the finance class got in on the Earth Day act by hosting a snack station for which they studied healthy options and the prices associated with long-term choices.

Ami Meals, ILC teacher, said they were proud of the entire gallery of student work that relates to Earth Day and 'Going Green,' as well as of all of the festival's activities. "It's been a great time."

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