Students and educators at Collinsville High School’s 21st Century Summer Program debuted their service-learning project last week inspired by a recycling initiative.

Per the Alabama 21st CCLCS, the 21st Century Community Learning Program Century is a U.S. Department of Education program, administered through the states, providing grants to schools, community and organizations, and youth development agencies, to provide high quality, expanded learning opportunities outside of regular school hours for children in a safe and secure educational environment.

“This bottle art project started with recycling,” said educator Claire Chandler, who collaborated on the project. “We’ve been working on this art project this whole month, gluing on bottle caps collected.”

Chandler teamed up with Collinsville Study Club and CED Mental Health to bring this year's service-learning project and presentation a success.

As part of their month-long program, students explored sustainability through the three R’s, reduce, reuse and recycle.

Trinka Payton spoke to students about reducing the amount of waste you produce, reusing items as much as possible before replacing them and recycling items whenever possible.

Pastor Carol Gullatt, head of the art project, said students, club members and teachers were excited to collect bottle caps for their venture.

“We are proud to add beauty to our city, especially right here before the Fourth of July when so many people will be driving through town to go to trade day and also to the lake,” she said. “They are going to pass by and see our sign. We are going to bring joy to the people in our community and all around.”

Students, 21st Century Community Learning Center and the Collinsville Study Club presented Collinsville Mayor Johnny Traffanstedt and councilmember Jeff Chandler two Mosaic art pieces created from recycled bottle caps in the shape of a sun and a slice of watermelon to be displayed at the town's traffic lights.

Claire Chandler reiterated to students the meaning behind the term “service,” which involves serving their community, school and also taking pride and care in their community.

“When you go by the traffic light I want you all to be proud. That’s something that you helped build,” she said.

Gullatt took the opportunity to present Chandler with a watermelon slice memento for her appreciation, leadership and service connecting CHS and the community.

Aside from last week's presentation, a celebration was held for the students made possible by the partnership of the Collinsville Study Club and CED Mental Health.

Chandler credited CED Mental Health Prevention Specialist and speaker Iesha Mcelrath as instrumental in the sponsorship of water slides for the students.

Attendees also heard from members of the Collinsville Study Club, a civic group that practices serving their community via art and culture, civic engagements, education, environment and conservation, among a variety of other initiatives. The club includes active members with over 50 years of service to Collinsville and its residence.

Concluding last week's presentation was Collinsville Public Library Director Jennifer Wilkin, welcoming the student to the many activities available at the library announcing the library’s newly added Saturday operating hours from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

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