Clarendon School Principal Ralph Merlo said the students responded well to the program. The HCIA conducted the contest from Monday, Nov. 10 through Friday, Dec. 19, 2003 with students in 31 Hudson County elementary schools participating.
Countywide, students collected about 1,400 pounds. While Holy Rosary Academy in Union City won first place for the largest percentage of crayons donated per student, Secaucus' Clarendon actually brought in the most in weight.
"Our teachers encouraged the students to bring in old crayons," Merlo said.
As a reward, the HCIA will give Clarendon School students a special assembly on Monday, Feb. 9 where the students will be recognized for their recycling efforts.
The event is expected to feature Adam Kuchler, a professional clown who began his career with Circus Smirkus and who toured with Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus. He is currently appearing at the Palace of Variety in Times Square in "High Heels and Red Noses." Also featured at the special assembly will be Leo Sblendorlo, formerly of the Flying Fartans
trapeze act, Circus Mirkus, the Midnight Circus and the New Pickle Circus. Also at the event will be Chris Grabber, who has a significant career in commercials and film and works behind the scenes of the state performance of Three Vaudevillians.
The crayon recycling program is an educational tool, a "doing your part for the Earth" project. Crayons are a petroleum product and do not biodegrade easily. The idea behind the effort of recycling crayons is to help conserve landfill space and energy.
Students learned to help reduce waste and learned about recycling at the same time.
The crayons will be shipped by the HCIA to LAF Lines, Ltd. This company recycles the old, broken crayons into new "Crazy crayons" that come in 26 colors. Many creative designs, and are also recyclable. For each pound of crayons sent to them for recycling, they will return one "Crazy crayon" to Hudson County to be sent to participating schools.
Mayor Dennis Elwell said he was thrilled to hear the news.
"I am very proud of all of our students," he said. "While it's certainly a great accomplishment for Clarendon School to have the largest donation in the county, I want to congratulate all the students in the county who took part in the contest. Everybody's a winner when they participate in something so worthy."
Students will also get the chance to see all of the winning schools in the April 2004 issue of Seasons for Kids, a publication put out by the HCIA.