If planet Earth makes it through another millennium, it just may be because of Chance Troksa.
A fifth-grader at Forest Ridge Academy, Troksa, 10, is already a dedicated environmentalist doing his part to save the planet.
Students and family members bring in their #1 plastic and aluminum recycling items to the Schererville school to participate in the Dream Machine Recycle Rally. "Chance not only brings in recycling from his family, he has recruited neighbors to recycle as well," said Michelle Frantal, second-grade teacher and green coordinator at Forest Ridge Academy. "Early this fall, Chance distributed a letter to his neighbors explaining our school's participation in the program."
While other may consider it an extra chore to separate plastic bottles and aluminum pop cans from refuse for recycling, Troksa calls it "fun."
"I like to help the school," he said of his extra efforts. "It's fun to collect the plastic bottles and pop cans. I take the (non-recyclable) caps off the bottles, and usually bring in 3 or 4 black (garbage) bags in a week."
In an effort to help our school earn prizes from the Dream Machine program, Frantal said, "Chance visits his neighbors every Sunday to collect their recycling," "He sorts it between plastic and aluminum, and then brings it to school.
"Chance definitely goes over and above what we had ever hoped for in our recycling program. So far this school year, Chance has brought in over 231.4 pounds of plastic and aluminum recycling. What an inspiring person."
Troksa and his parents, Larry and Sandy Troksa, of St. John, have another environmental interest at the school, coming in on weekends to tend to the school garden. "We have to do a lot of clean up in the garden," said Troksa, adding that butterfly plants have been grown and ground cover is now getting attention.
"The family has just taken it upon themselves to do this gardening," Frantal added.
Also a member of the school newspaper staff, Troksa calls mathematics his favorite academic subject, and has already "double skipped" to eighth-grade level math studies.
The Dream Machine Recycle Rally is sponsored by Waste Management and PepsiCo. PepsiCo, added Frantal, wants to make it more convenient to recycle on the go and increase the rate of beverage container recycling in the U.S. to 50 percent by 2018.