By Russell Hixson
STILLWATER, Okla. —
Fourth- and fifth-grade students at Will Rogers Elementary School are doing their part to encourage Stillwater residents to participate in the Curbside Recycling Program.
With the help of songwriter Monty Harper, an alumnus of Will Rogers, and school music teacher Stacy Reinert, approximately 150 students divided into six teams to write six songs about the new recycling program.
Their collaboration led to the creation of the songs Curbside Recycling Is Fun, Recycle Style, Trash Monster, Cursbside Karma, Recycle the Party and You Can’t Trash This.
Stillwater residents can vote for their favorite song by visiting Monty Harper’s Children’s Music Blog at montyharper.blogspot.com.
The team with the winning song will get to make their song into a video and be treated to a pizza party. The poll closes at 10 p.m. Wednesday. As of Tuesday afternoon, 425 votes had been cast online.
Each of the six songs will be heard at the 5:30 p.m. Monday Stillwater City Council meeting in the Stillwater Municipal Building, 723 S. Lewis.
The winning song will be included in the city’s curbside recycling promotional campaign on television and online.
After a school field trip to the landfill and recycling center early this semester, students worked with Harper and Reinert to devise the lyrics and melodies.
“They took the students through the whole process of songwriting,” Will Rogers Principal Cherron Ukpaka said.
Each of the teams performed their songs at a school assembly.
“We are excited that Mr. Harper came to help us in our Curbside Recycling roll-out by teaching the students at Will Rogers Elementary how to write songs,” Waste Management Manager Chris Knight said.
The project is the result of a $2,500 grant proposal written by Ukpaka through the Oklahoma Arts Council for a music and song residency.
“It’s great to reach into that creative side,” Ukpaka said. “Art is so important in the education of the whole child.”
Harper is involved in another music residency at Skyline Elementary School this week. He has been in music residency at several Stillwater elementary schools in the last three years.
“I always try to connect with something outside of the classroom,” Harper said. “I hit pay dirt with this one. ... There is a movement afoot with the arts, integrating art forms and curriculum and then creating art. It’s a good way to synthesize the information and it engages learning.”
Harper said he was concerned going into the project if six songs could be written about curbside recycling.
“That turned out not to be a problem at all. The kids were so creative,” he said.
The concept of each song was entirely the students’ idea, Harper said, and most of the lyrics and melodies were devised by the students.
Each of the songs are unique and have particular rhythm, including rock, rap, hip-hop and pop.
For more information about the Curbside Recyling Program, contact Knight at 405-533-8453 or visit www.stillwater.org.