By BEN DUDLEYThe Wilson Post
MT. JULIET -- To try and be more environmentally conscious, or green, as it is commonly referred to, Mt. Juliet Middle School is working to have B.E.A.R.S., which stands for Brilliant, Eco-friendly And Recycling Students.
The B.E.A.R.S. project is the main effort of the Junior Beta Club and is handled completely by the students. MJMS began their Junior Beta Club in 2008 with only 20 members.
The Junior Beta Club was formed by three sponsors examining grades of all 6th graders and then inviting the top 70 to join. The 7th and 8th graders must participate in service projects and show leadership characteristics.
One of those projects included Matt Beery, a 7th grader at the time, who called the Coca Cola Company and asked them to donate barrels one of the ingredients for making the popular beverage comes in and then he painted them to say “Recycle bottles here.” They are found in every hallway and the cafeteria to help encourage students to recycle.
“We also started out using cardboard boxes to collect paper, but our custodians would forget and throw them away,” said Cathy Liddle, Junior Beta Club sponsor and 6th grade Science teacher. “So we called Ace Hardware and they sold us plastic recycling bins for each classroom as well as the copy room.”
The Junior Beta Club empties the recycling bins every Tuesday into the recycling dumpster in the back parking lot by the football field. This year, the Junior Beta Club has 45 active members who all want to better their community as well as the world, Liddle said.
“Rain or shine, hot or cold our Junior Beta Club members are encouraging and facilitating our school’s move to becoming more green,” Liddle said.
MJMS Junior Beta Club is also collecting gently used coats for the Mt. Juliet Help Center and magazines for the Murfreesboro Veterans Hospital now through Dec. 4. The students are working to reuse items that will not only help people in the community, but to reduce the amount of waste in the landfills.
In addition to schoolwide projects like the recycling, collecting coats and wrapping 40-50 shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child that were donated by the students, each member must complete an individual service project. They are required to take pictures and keep a journal about their project, and a scrapbook is compiled at the end of the year.
Grady Dunlap, an 8th grader, has been picking up trash around the school property while Autumn Conger, also an 8th grader, helped teach songs to children at a local Vacation Bible School. Beery went on a mission trip to North Carolina and worked with the area’s Boys and Girls Club.
“It’s great because we are being prepared for the future,” Autumn said when asked why she joined the Beta Club. “This also helps us get scholarships, but it’s just good to help the community and learn to be a leader because we are the future leaders of our communities.”
Another sponsor, Amy Dunlap, who teaches 8th grade Language Arts, said that the club is considering raising money for the Children’s Miracle Network for their big spring project.
Children’s Miracle Network is a non-profit organization that raises funds for more than 170 children’s hospitals. Donations to Children’s Miracle Network create miracles by funding medical care, research and education that saves and improves the lives of 17 million children each year.
“It’s amazing what 45 committed kids can do,” Dunlap said. “It is a pleasure to work with kids who are not only motivated to do well in school, but who are also motivated to help their community.”
“MJMS Junior Beta Club wants to encourage our community to get behind our move to become green by bringing their paper to our recycling dumpster in the back parking lot,” Liddle said. “Our community can also bring gently used coats and their old magazines to the office. We want to everyone in our community to become a MJMS B.E.A.R.S.”
Staff Writer Ben Dudley may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.