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Take Action Today Award Winners

Each year, the Office of Solid Waste Reduction and Recycling of Solid Waste Reduction and Recycling (Office) recognizes South Carolina schools and educators for their outstanding waste reduction and recycling efforts through the Take Action Today Awards Program.

The following award recipients were recognized at the summer Take Action Today Workshop for their efforts during the 2015-2016 school year.

Recycling Teachers of the Year

Melany Nussbaumer, North Myrtle Beach Middle School
Melany Nussbaumer of North Myrtle Beach Middle School in Horry County improved the school's recycling program by securing four grants and adding recycling bins and scales. The school also participated in the first "GoGo Fest" to promote recycling and had student volunteers participate in five clean-up events collecting trash along beaches, boat landings and waterways. Melany's personal involvement is a shining example to the students, staff, faculty and parents of North Myrtle Beach Middle. She uses opportunities to be an ambassador for environmental causes she cares about and is affectionately known as the "recycling lady". 

Brooke Scott, Deerfield Elementary School
Brook Scott of Deerfield Elementary in Lexington County has made tremendous progress and is having startup success since the opening of Deerfield in August 2014. The recycling effort she leads begins at the school and then bridges out into the local community. Brooke created "Planet Heroes," which features one student per classroom who promotes recycling and also acts as host of the "Recycled Art Gala" where students create artwork from recycled items.

Outstanding Recycling School of the Year
The Outstanding Recycling School of the Year is Seaside Elementary School in Horry County. Darcy Jones led the school, which begins each day with "Green Works" announcements reminding students to recycle, and in securing grants from Horry County Solid Waste Authority and DHEC to purchase large roll carts, recycle bins and scales. The school also formed a partnership with private vendors to recycle plastic bags and to compost food waste and sponsored the "Fashion with Compassion" show in which all clothing was made with recyclable items. They've taken a typical recycling program as implemented at many of our schools and embraced it with hard work and dedicated resources that will have a beneficial impact on our environment for years to come.

Outstanding Composting School of the Year
Ocean Bay Middle School of Horry County is the state's Outstanding Composting School of the Year.  Cindy Lilly led the school's composting program to collect 39 tons of organic waste. Composting has become a way of life for these twelve, thirteen and fourteen year olds.  They collect all paper generated in the cafeteria including napkins, cardboard packaging, and milk cartons. They collect all food scraps including meats.  They recently partnered with SMART Composting out of Charleston who collects their waste on a weekly basis in an effort to increase their composting efficiency.  They have discovered that pencil shavings from the classrooms are also a big part of their compost collection. Finished compost is used in the herb and vegetable gardens on campus. The herbs and vegetables were sold during the school's annual Earth Day community fundraiser. 

Rising Star Awards
  • Vikki Pasco of Catawba Trail Elementary School in Richland County
  • Jeanne McKinney with Meadow Glen Elementary School of Lexington County
  • Lake Carolina Elementary Lower Campus in Richland County led by Susan Woodley
  • Oakview Elementary School in Greenville County, led by Charnley DeMeritt
  • Lower Richland High School in Richland County, led by Aaron Buller
Spotlight Schools
  • Orchard Park Elementary in York County
  • Northwestern High School in York County
  • Myrtle Beach High School in Horry County