Children at Fox Hills Elementary School are interested in cans, not can'ts.
In fact, they can't get too many cans. And they can't forget what the cans can do - not for them, but for children in La Cruz de Lincana, Honduras.The Fox Hills student body is helping to build a school in La Cruz by collecting aluminum cans and selling them to a recycling plant. The goal is to raise $860 - approximately an eighth of the cost of the Honduran school, said Rebecca Sindar, a second-grade teacher who, with Michelle Taylor, a third-grade teacher, is helping to spearhead the project.
Sindar spent 18 months in Honduras and has a special interest in helping upgrade education for the children in that country, where most families live in poverty.
"The project also helps to keep our streets clear of aluminum cans," said Marylee See, Fox Hills PTA president. "It serves a dual purpose."
The Utah school became interested in the Central American project through a Utah couple serving a Peace Corps stint in Honduras. Tim and Caran Graves told their friend, Carol Noall, about their proposal to promote a new building to replace La Cruz's school, which is falling down.
Noall saw the potential for involving neighborhood children in a worthwhile undertaking - and the rest is history in the making.
The Peace Corps requires that La Cruz residents raise 50 percent of the cost of the new school. The community then becomes eligible for assistance through the people-to-people program. The simple one-room structure envisioned for the community will accommodate about 50 students in grades one through six, Sindar said.
La Cruz is about 10 miles from the nearest city, Choluteca. "We wanted to do something that would allow all of our students to participate," See said.
"We thought three cans per child per week would do it," Sindar said, "but it looks as if we'll need five per child." Many children are bringing more and classes are competing, hoping to win the pizza party that will go to the collecting-est class at the end of the project. Last week's winner was a kindergarten group.
Each class has an "ambassador" who handles the classroom collections and sees that they are added to the pile that goes to the recycling plant each week.
The project has created a sense of companionship between the Fox Hills students and their peers in Honduras. Hand-drawn pictures from children in La Cruz decorate a wall of the Salt Lake County school, and the Fox Hills children and teachers are planning to send items to La Cruz that will help further education - such as tape recorders, crayons and other needed supplies.