Students at South Middle School celebrate their new solar panel
Two days after winning her fifth election, Arlene Mulder sat on a folding chair listening to a middle school choir belt out, "Here Comes the Sun."
After all the parties, speeches and handshakes, it was time to get back to the business of being mayor of Arlington Heights.
On Thursday she helped celebrate South Middle School's new solar panel, speech promoting recycling in hand.
"Sometimes adults get a little lazy about washing out every can, but you can remind them," said Mulder, a former South teacher and girls basketball coach. "You can be their conscience."
Last year a science class a South researched solar panels then applied for and received a $10,000 grant though the Illinois Clean Energy group. Thomas Middle School got their grant a year earlier and put up their solar panel last year.
The Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation was established in 1999 as an independent foundation with a $225 million endowment provided by ComEd. The group uses that money for clean energy development and land preservation efforts.
The panel is expected to reduce energy use and costs for the school.
This week, six former South students returned to their school. David Brablec, Maddie Conway, Liz Sheehan, Sharon Josephs, Claire Grogan and Lizzie Grogan are all freshman at Prospect High School.
"We wrote the grant, researched the topic and made a lasting impressing on our school," Brablec told the middle schoolers. "Now it's your turn to figure out how you can make a lasting impression."
Arlington Heights residents started using recycle bins in 1988 and today 98 percent of the village's single-family homes participate in the program.