A partnership between Smithfield Foods and Butler Avenue school has has not only developed a relationship between the two, but has worked to grow the minds of the young learners.
The entire school, both faculty and students, gathered to show their appreciation of the local company, surprising representatives with a thunderous applause and certificate of appreciation.
“I am impressed and blown away by their generosity,” Butler Avenue principal Robert Turlington said about the company. “They have contributed some special gifts to our school.”
Smithfield representatives Rick Bowen and Kenny Cabral met with the administration and teachers from the school to develop two different environmental awareness projects the company and school could work on together.
According to Turlington, working through the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality Office of Environmental Education and Public Affairs, the team decided on two different activities for the school that were sponsored on the department’s website. A recycling contest and art contest were the two projects the students and teachers began working to complete.
Butler Avenue’s art teacher Kristie Slack headed up the “Save the Frog” art contest. Smithfield assisted by providing the art supplies and prizes for the event. Student entries were submitted to the California Save the Frog organization that for the past nine years has worked diligently to help protect this ever growing endangered amphibian so vital to our ecology.
According to Turlington, students also were taught of the importance of the common frog to the environment through class lessons and videos.
The second event, the Recycle Bowl, was particularly important to Bowen and the staff at Smithfield, as the company works to improve the recycling process at the local plant and have an environmental imprint on the community.
A competition ensued between the four buildings and hallways of the school to see who could collect the most recyclable materials in a one month period.
“All together the school collected 1,370 pounds of recyclable materials,” Turlington said. “That’s almost one and a half tons of paper, cans and plastic bottles.”
Both projects, Turlington shared, were a huge success.
“The students learned that we all live on one planet and it is everyone’s responsibility to help take care of it,” the principal added. “The contests were fun, but more important, it was a valuable learning experience for Butler Avenue children.”
During the surprise presentation, Bowen said the company was happy to help with the two projects.
“It’s so easy to get lost in the day to day grind and forget about the need to reach out and help the community,” Bowen shared. “You guys are our leaders going forward. Some day down the road, it will be one of you guys who is running the plant and giving back to the community.”
Smithfield has also pledged its support through a donation to help purchase 25 Chromebooks and a storage cart to use at the school.
“We are fortunate to have as our partner and neighbor Smithfield to collaborate with and assist us in acquiring educational tools for our children,” Turlington said.
Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.