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Students in Transition Skills program lend support to U.S. troops overseas
Thursday, March 31, 2011 BY DEBRA WINTERS
Multi-disabled students who take part in the district’s Transition Skills Training program at Wayne Valley High School are going green as they support America’s troops fighting overseas.
Dave Stecz and Serge Derunets, left, assist the kids with carrying bags of cans to the dumpster.
STAFF PHOTOS BY DEMITRIUS BALEVSKI
Arlington Scrap Metal owner, Tom Ostroman, is seen paying teacher Michele Cornell for the aluminum cans. The transition program consists of special needs kids with individualized requirements, some severely handicapped and others not as extreme. The classes are headed by Michele Cornell, a special education teacher, and Tom Rose, the transition skills teacher.
This particular venture, though, is conducted by the more severely handicapped students, who for years have been collecting aluminum cans from around WVHS and recycling them in return for money. But from time to time they found it difficult to find a place close by to turn over the cans, explained Cornell, until a few months ago when she saw a commercial on cable TV for Arlington Scrap Metal in Wayne.
“I called them [Arlington Scrap Metal] and they were more than willing to accommodate us,” said Cornell. “And they are nice and close.”
Their recycling project initially began in an effort to teach the students full circle what it means to make money, save up for something, and spend it on such things as class parties and other things, Cornell said.
However about three months ago, Rose, who works with the less severe students, passed along a message from his daughter, Jill Rose, who happens to be a first lieutenant U.S. Army nurse.
She spoke about the needs of the wounded servicemen and women in Iraq and Afghanistan who are recouping at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany.
“My daughter told me that so many people donate things to the troops but what they really want are calling cards to call home with and DVDs to watch while they are laid up in bed,” Rose stated.
Upon hearing this, Cornell decided to change her class’ course of action a bit and with the money they received from recycling the cans, the students started purchasing calling cards and DVDs to be shipped over to the troops.
According to Tom Ostroman, owner of Arlington Scrap Metal, located on Newark Pompton Turnpike, the students make anywhere from $40 to $80 per visit.
“The kids bring the cans to us and we load them in the bin and weigh them. So how much money is made depends on how many cans are brought in,” Ostroman said.
And these kids work hard, says Ostroman, adding that every can is thoroughly rinsed out, which is such a help to me.
It’s a win win for all involved.
“I’ve been here a long time and it’s not every day you see a school bus pull up,” Ostroman quipped. It’s like a field trip for the kids. They get out, they have fun, and they see the different kinds of equipment we have here. It makes them happy and in the end it’s a positive experience all around.”