St. Bede Catholic School in unincorporated Ingleside now has a lot of green to help it become greener by winning a national recycling contest.
With all 220 students, teachers and several parents packed in St. Bede's gymnasium, school officials accepted a $25,000 check from contest sponsor PepsiCo during an enthusiastic ceremony Wednesday.
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Roughly 700 schools nationwide competed in PepsiCo's Dream Machine Recycle Rally. By collecting nearly 600,000 nonalcoholic plastic bottles and aluminum cans, St. Bede took the small-school bracket and was one of three grand-prize winners in the derby that was designed to raise recycling awareness among pupils in kindergarten through high school.
St. Bede Parish's pastor, the Rev. Tim Fairman, said it was gratifying to see the children bring their recyclables to school each day, along with the participation of adult parishioners.
"I think the other thing that's important, too, is that (the contest) taught us as a parish the value of recycling," Fairman said. "Recycling is such an important thing to do in this day and age because there is so much waste in this world."
St. Bede's $25,000 prize will go toward making the school more environmentally friendly. Potential projects include the purchase of energy-efficient printers and the installation of solar panels.
PepsiCo executive Tom Mooradian, who managed the recycle rally contest, tried to bring home to the students just how many plastic bottles and aluminum cans they diverted to recycling bins. He said two elephants weigh as much as the recyclables collected at St. Bede.
"I just want you to know we're really inspired by your actions," Mooradian told the student body.
Winning schools for the 2012-13 academic year contest needed to have the highest total number of bottles and cans collected as of April 30.