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Students learn life skills through recycling program

The recycling program at St. Croix Central High School benefits more than the Earth. It also helps the cognitively disabled students in Sharon Freitag's room.

About four years ago, the school's janitorial company offered one of Freitag's students a job collecting and sorting the recyclables.

Now, the whole class does the job. Marsden's compensates them with a generous donation each year, Freitag said.

In previous years, the class chose to use the money to buy things for the room, like a dishwasher and a vacuum. This year, their money is going to the Holiday Angels program to buy gifts.

Freitag said the recycling job is great for the students, since she and the other CD teachers try to teach life skills to them.

Even if the students don't get jobs like this in the real world, they are still learning to listen, follow directions and work quietly, Freitag said.

"Anything we can do to help them learn skills is beneficial," she explained.

Six students spend two hours with the recycling each week. They follow a certain collection route each time, and Freitag said others in the school know when they'll be around.

Once they have collected the recyclables from all the rooms in the building, they take it to a dumpster. The dumpster is equipped with a back door so it's easier to get the goods in.

"It's a great opportunity for us," Freitag said. "We really appreciate it."