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High school seniors turn trash into treasures for final project - West Yellowstone News Online: News

High school seniors turn trash into treasures for final project

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  • Friendship bracelet...

    Senior Clarice Griffin gives a handmade bracelet to a friend. She made bracelets and headbands from old scraps of material.

Posted: Sunday, June 5, 2011 7:22 am

Someone else's trash might not be worth a lot of money, but it can be made into many small treasures.

West Yellowstone high school seniors devised a final project to complete in their senior transitions course that made their last weeks of class pass by with creativity.

Students teamed with Green-Up West Yellowstone members Pierre Martineau and Gus Tureman to develop the idea for the project of making new items out of recycled materials, trash or found objects. Green-Up West Yellowstone is a local group that regularly meets to develop goals and implement strategies related to environmentally friendly practices, to develop a senior project. Tureman and Martineau spoke to the class earlier this year about the importance of recycling.

The class, along with teacher Jessica Drew, have maintained recycling at the school building since the beginning of the year and wanted to continue with the theme of recycling for their final projects.

"We made it our senior project to create something," Drew said.

The projects pushed them to think of what to make, how to make things and do it without using anything new or store-bought.

Seniors MarriAnn Turner and Kayla Hurst held up a pair of flip flops for classmates to see during presentations in their Thursday morning class.

The flip flops are held together with chewing gum and pieces of found rubber.

"We found the rubber in the garbage, literally," Turner said.

The flip flops are the right shape, but needed some adjustments to be comfortably worn all day. She showed the class it is possible to make just about anything from the stuff people throw away.

A majority of the class found inspiration in old garments and t-shirts for their creations.

Tesia Barr and Trey Collins made a dog bed, resembling a large orange blob, from scrapped T-shirt material. They stuffed the two very large-sized shirts and then sewed up the open hems.

The bed is large enough for a St. Bernard and a litter of puppies.

"We found the idea for our project on the Internet," Collins said.

Shelby Schoenhard made a reusable grocery bag out of an old shirt, which she discovered was also strong enough to carry books to and from classes.

"It cuts down on the use of plastic bags," she said.

Amy Wycoff and Lacey Klungervik pieced together squares of old pajamas and clothing to make fleece baby blankets.

The girls found their designs useful, making sure to double-layer the fabric and line the blankets in fleece.

Nick Johannes made a corkboard from various bottle corks he's collected throughout the years. He used reclaimed wood that he found in the trash to frame his piece. He demonstrated that the small corks arranged together on the board were strong enough to hold paper drawings and notes.

Kaitlin Johnson spent hours tediously removing wrappers from old crayons, melting down the wax and making new sets of crayons.

The swirled sticks of wax were neatly arranged in sets for the class and make rainbow patterns when they're used to color with.

Daniel Kelley put his science knowledge to the test and made a water filter from a plastic Coca Cola bottle, paper towels and a mixture of sand and rocks.

"I made a simple syrup of dirt and water, and drank the water (after it was filtered)," he said.

Bigger particles get caught in the first layer of the filtration system and smaller particles get absorbed in the various levels of sand and gravel, according to Kelley.

Jeremy Salvador and Joshua Rightenour created a coffee table-like structure from variously sized aluminum cans and Ethan Stanley-Ward pieced together a memory book using an extra notebook, greeting cards, artwork and magazine clippings.

Martineau and Tureman were guest graders at Thursday's class session and gave feedback on the projects. They asked questions as well as suggestions, even mentioning how some of their items might have multiple uses.

And the lesson wasn't lost on the students, either.

"We learned the usefulness of reusing and recycling," Wycoff said.

Clarice Griffin even started a short trend as her friends wore headbands and bracelets she made from old scraps of material for the rest of the school day.

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