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Teaching thriftiness by example

September 20, 2010

Thriftiness and energy efficiency are on the lesson plans for several area teachers.
These teachers employ methods, like recycling and cutting energy costs, that not only save the environment, but save their schools money.
Eilene Corcoran, a teacher at Bandys High School, started a battery recycling program for the school.
"We used a lot of batteries, and there was nowhere to recycle them," she said.
Corcoran, an environmental science teacher, infuses elements of recycling into her classroom.
"The custodians are really good about recycling (at the school)," she said. "(In my classroom), I don't want to find so much as one recyclable item in the trash."
Although Corcoran's techniques ultimately save money through reduced waste, she does it to help students learn about the importance of caring for their surroundings.
"Students need to learn to take care of things and learn everything has to go somewhere," she said. "The money element is really secondary."
Newton-Conover High School science teacher Corey Nunley started recycling and reducing energy consumption in the classroom about five years ago.
"It's just about saving anywhere you can," he said. "Every little bit makes a difference."
NCHS students are allowed to drink bottled water in the classroom, which produced a lot of empty plastic bottles. Nunley contacted the city of Newton for recycling bins to recycle the bottles and aluminum cans.
"Everything else that we wouldn't recycle would go straight to the landfill," Nunley said. "I try to teach students that everything has to end up somewhere."
Nunley's advanced placement environmental science class conducted a survey that determined the school saved $15,000 in electricity costs in a three-month period after students turned off classroom lights and shut down computers when they weren't in use.
"It's just saving anywhere you can," Nunley said.
Deborah Pendleton, who is retired from Newton-Conover City Schools but still works at schools, manipulates small money-saving tips into her life to save money at home and in the classroom.
"I was raised this way," Pendleton said of her money-stretching ways. "It was something I grew up with."
For teachers and savers alike, Pendleton recommends yard sales and consignment shops as a good source for saving.
"When at a yard sale, be cautious not to buy what you don't need," she said. "There are some good deals, but only if you can use the items."
Pendleton once found a new color copier cartridge, which usually sells for at least $25, for $1 at a thrift store.
"Someone just didn't need it and took it to the store - my good luck," she said.
Pendleton also recommends visiting new stores and businesses, which might offer sales or reductions to entice new customers. She said other ways to save include making a shopping plan and deciding which stores to shop at first, so not to waste gas or time.
"Planning your trips even to local stores can reduce gas expenses," she said. "If you don't need an item immediately, try to plan a stop there when you are going to work or coming home."

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