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Niangua students get eco-friendly with Christmas shop project

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As part of their ecology project, seniors Melissa Letterman and Hailye Phelan from Niangua High School decided to give back to the community and encourage recycling by doing a Christmas shop event Saturday, Dec. 16, in the high school gym.

During the event, families could pick up free clothes, books, toys and other items, which were donated by community members. According to Letterman, their assignment was to do a project that would be beneficial to the environment.

“We wanted to do recycling for our project,” said Letterman. “Everybody does recycling for paper or just random stuff, so we thought about doing something to help out our town and just anybody around since it is Christmas time. We came up with the idea to take donations of gently used clothes and other things, and give them back to the community.”

Students must give a 15-minute presentation about their project, explain their research and how the project is helpful to the environment. Letterman and Phelan started their project about two weeks ago, asking students and community members to donate items. Donations were dropped off at the high school office.

“We have learned a lot from this project and how throwing away stuff like toys is not good for the environment,” said Phelan. “They are not biodegradable, so you just have plastic and other stuff that is non-recyclable. A lot of people in recycling places will not take toys, so this is a good way to help the environment and the community.”

While it is their senior year, Letterman and Phelan are still interested in doing another project like this for the community. According to Letterman, they have already talked to the high school principal about coming back and doing it again since some of the junior classes were interested in the project.

“We have some juniors who want do something like this,” said Letterman. “They want to give back to the community. We actually had some students help us put this together. The junior English class had a no bullying project and a community service project. They needed so many community service hours a week, so they came in and helped us organize the items.”

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