Students repurpose junk
Project part of Clintonville English class
By Bert Lehman
Prior to the end of the school year juniors at Clintonville High School created useable items from things that would have normally been considered junk.
The upcycling project was part of the English 11 class.
Erin Howe, junior English teacher, said during the fourth quarter of the school year, the English 11 class read environmental literature.
“Because of that we thought it would be a good idea for them to have a project related to that,” Howe said.
Students could use anything to create the projects as long as it was already used before for something else.
“They had to take a piece of garbage or a piece of trash and turn it into something that was either useful or beautiful or hopefully both,” Howe said.
“It had to be out of 99 percent recycled goods,” added Lindsay Davis, junior English teacher.
Students were required to design, create, and market a product. They needed to present their idea in a way similar to how things are presented on the TV show “Shark Tank.” Based on feedback from the presentation, students created their projects, displayed them, and tried to sell them.
“We did ‘Shark Tank’ because we tried to allow them to see the difficulty of starting a business and learning how to price items accordingly,” Davis said. “Some of them might be a little overpriced and they are learning that as they go.”
Davis and Howe said they offered students suggestions about what types of things can be created, but for the most part the students came up with their own ideas.
“It’s really neat to see all the different things they came up with,” Davis said.
In general, students used class time to write a business plan. They created the items outside of the classroom.
“We didn’t see a lot of that stuff that was happening and then on the day when all projects were supposed to arrive it was like, ‘Holy cow,’” Howe said.
Howe added that she thought the students were surprised by how easy it was to find discarded material for their projects.
“It really helped them use their community resources well,” Howe said.
Emily Graper created a hanging spoon rack. She said she got the idea while searching the Internet.
“My parents led me raid the silverware,” Graper said. “All of this was from around my house.”
She added, “I learned that a lot of things that we have in our house can be used to make many of the things we need in our life. Basic things can be made into something completely different.”
Allison LeNoble created flowers out of soda cans, and storage containers out of tin cans.
“I have craft bins so you can hold any school supplies as need be,” LeNoble said. “And then I have a scarf holder so it will be a little easier than throwing them wherever you want.”
She said she learned that there is a lot of stuff people waste that can be reused.
Tabitha Upson and Alecia Bessette created a teeter-totter from an old tire. They said they got the idea from Pinterest.
Bressette said students liked the teeter-totter, with quite a few of them trying it.
Emma Kumm and Emily Klein created a variety of vases and candle holders out of wine bottles. They also had painted bottles.
“I have a glass cutter at home,” Klein said. “All you do is cut it and heat it with a candle and then you put an ice cube around it and you have to break it. It was really trial and error. Some of them shattered and some of them worked.”
Kumm added that her teachers liked the fact there were a variety of items available.
By far, the largest item created was a “tub-mobile” by Anthony Pues, Jeremiah Leavitt, and Bryce Persha.
They took an old cast iron bathtub and axles and wheels found at the property Pues lives on, and put them together to create the tub-mobile.
“We had to remodel everything to make it fit right,” Pues said.
The item was so large that Pues had to haul it to school in the back of his truck, which was a project in itself.
“It took like 40 minutes just to get it in my truck,” Pues said.
Their teachers were also surprised by the tub-mobile.
“They didn’t expect anybody to have something too big to fit inside school,” Pues said. “They were all shocked. It was nice because we put a lot of effort into it.”
“I heard about the tub wagon long before I saw the tub wagon,” Howe said. “I was really surprised with the size of it. I think it turned out really cool because they really started with literally nothing. He had random things from around his yard.”
Pues said he didn’t expect anybody from school to buy the tub-mobile, but he thought he would be able to sell it.
“With the people I live around someone will take it because of how old everything is and it’s very rustic,” Pues said.