Students Learn to Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

RALEIGH COUNTY, W.Va. (WOAY) – Earth Day usually conjures up thoughts of planting trees and protecting the o-zone, but some students got down and dirty to learn the importance of recycling.

Saint Francis de Sales School students toured the Raleigh County landfill on Monday to learn how recycling can lessen the impact on the planet.

“They see the trash being buried correctly [and] they understand that it’s very important to protect the ground water,” said director of education Sherri Hunter. “We only have one world to protect…We like to say that lessons learned early are often lessons learned best.”

Students from first, fourth and fifth grades saw first-hand how being wasteful can hurt the environment. Countless bags of trash come to the landfill to sit and rot away. The smell was as bad as the garbage piles were tall, but the important lesson was not lost on the young minds.

“Trash can just rot away and you don’t need to worry about the space, but plastic won’t rot away and it takes up space,” said 5th grader Sanjeev Polisetty. “It’s good to recycle and you can make it into other stuff.”

The piles of trash shocked parents and teachers as much as they shocked the students.

“I think as a family we can do a better job of recycling,” said parent chaperone Stacy Bragg. “Today, [we saw] what could easily be recycled instead of just thrown out in the landfills. I hope [my daughter] takes that away and together, we can take what we learned today and share that with our family and our friends.”

The students also celebrated two birthdays at the landfill with cake, pizza and a visit to the recycling museum.

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Kassie Simmons joined the team in January 2019 as a weekend journalist. She graduated from Virginia Tech in just two and a half years with a BA in multimedia journalism. During her short time at Virginia Tech, she served as the editor for the university’s chapter of The Tab. Kassie was named the top reporter for The Tab at Virginia Tech on multiple occasions and made the list for the top 30 reporters for The Tab in the U.S. She also studied theater performance and minored in creative writing. Before coming to WOAY, Kassie interned at WSLS in Roanoke and the Tidewater Review in her hometown of West Point, Va. She has loved following breaking news since her childhood and has a passion for delivering the stories people care most about. Kassie is excited to be working in Southern West Virginia and looks forward to all the adventures ahead of her. You can follow her on Twitter at @KassieLSimmons and like her page on Facebook. If you have a story you think she should check out, send her an email at