Recycle away

Welcome to the new year.

A great way to kick off the new year is by recognizing a group of students who participated in the Educator's Closet recycling contest recently. (There was a full story in last Monday's paper).

I hadn't had a chance to read all of the six winning essays, but since I've been typing them in, I've been truly impressed with what I've seen.

Take the essay written by Lauren Ragsdale from Eagle Valley Middle School: "Recycling can seem like many things," she says, "but to recognize it you have to get the word out there. So by putting up signs, reminding people, and making it a school rule, recycling would be of much better use at my school."

I like that there are kids out there who believe they can make a difference. And while no one wants to become an obsessive-compulsive recycler, I believe we all have a responsibility to our selves and others to make good decisions - like recycling. But often enough, caring for the Earth is more simple that that - it means picking up trash when others have decided to litter.

Be sure to read the recycling essays in upcoming issues of the 411, including Rick Nguyen's essay on today's page C2. And if the teachers out there haven't stopped by the Educator's Closet, at 604 W. Musser St., you should know it's a boon for classroom supplies. Also anyone can donate to the Closet and receive a tax-deduction. Call 283-1513 before dropping by to make sure the Educator's Closet is open .

Tops in L'Oréal shoot

Two sophomores at Carson High are among the top 25 finalists in Varsity Media Group's "You Make the Commercial" contest sponsored by L'Oréal Paris.

Both Lydia Peri and Alejandra Melgarejo, from the school's advanced video production class, spent at least 10 hours putting together a video about a L'Oréal straightening creme called Studioline Hot Straight (which I'd now like to try).

They had the option of using the hair straightener, a lip gloss or a creme that makes the hair curly. Lydia is actually in the commercial along with senior Ryan Dwyer, who was chosen because of his "really nice, straight hair." Alejandra filmed the commercial.

"(This) boosts our confidence," said Alejandra. "It tells us we have the ability to do stuff like (this)."

See the commercial online at along with the other top selections and cast your opinion. The top winner receives $3,000 for their school, as well as an all-expenses paid trip to new York City to watch a L'Oréal product shoot.

"It took a while to plan (the commercial)," Lydia said. "We filmed it at the community center and at the school on the green screen. It taught me a lot about lighting and a lot of stuff about editing that I didn't know before. And it definitely taught me a lot about procrastinating."

She said the commercial was put in the mail the day of the postmark deadline. The finalists will be announced on the Web site Jan. 30. In the commercial, Lydia and Ryan have damaged hair, but after using Studioline Hot Straight, and explaining how it works, their hair becomes frizz- and curl-free.

"I've never entered a contest on my own, and it feels good to make the top 25 out of the whole country," Lydia said.

The girls' teacher, Brian Reedy, would like the community to get behind the two girls, get online, and vote. Alejandra has already voted, but said many of the other high school submissions were top quality.

"I can't wait until voting ends to see what happens," Alejandra said. "The fact that we're in the top 25 and possibly can win even the top five, I think it's cool."

n Contact reporter Maggie O'Neill at or 881-1219.


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