Students lead recycling effort

When Ellen Smith Elementary School in Conway started a recycling program two years ago, Haydon King and Bennett Ellis stepped up.

The boys – who are cousins – were in the second grade when they were approached by assistant principal Judy Greer about taking a leadership role. “I thought that would be pretty fun, and it is,” said Haydon.

“These boys are the key to recycling success at Ellen Smith,” said Principal DeLanna Lacy. “They are leaders and role models in our school, setting the example and leading the way!”

Bennett Ellis (left) and Haydon King have led the recycling efforts at Ellen Smith Elementary School since they were in the second grade. (Molly Bowman photos)

Haydon and Bennett were already familiar with the importance of recycling, thanks to their grandfather, Ed Ellis, who works for the Arkansas Energy Office.

Every Wednesday afternoon, the boys stay after school and go to every classroom to remove the recycling boxes, move the material in them to the larger recycling bins and then take the boxes back to their classroom.

“They never have to be reminded,” said Lacy. “They are very responsible. We are very proud of them.”

Bennett was surprised by how much the school recycles each week. Haydon pointed out that not only does recycling help the environment, but also that the materials can generate money.

“I think recycling is important because it saves trees from being cut down and the landfill from growing and growing,” said Bennett. “It helps the environment and saves animals.”

Next year, Haydon and Bennett will be attending Conway Christian School and plan to lend a hand with recycling on campus. Their younger siblings will be assuming the responsibility at Ellen Smith.

“The thing I’ve learned is that you can make a difference in the world,” said Bennett. “My little brother and cousin are really little, but even they can still help.”


Haydon King

City: Conway

School/grade level: Fourth grade at Ellen Smith Elementary School.

Favorite subject: Physical education.

What do you enjoy most at school: Music.

Career plans: Would like to be a dentist.

Community activities: Attends Woodland Heights Baptist Church and participates in Awana and Bible Study Fellowship. Member of the Ellen Smith Jump Rope Team.

Family: Parents Christy and Mitch King, 6-year-old sister, Katie Grace, and 2-year-old brother, William.

Who do you admire the most: My dad.

Favorite meal: Cheese and chicken spaghetti.

Most cherished possession: My stuffed animal, Puppy.

Most enjoyed weekend activity: Playing baseball games.

Favorite quote: John 3:16.

Favorite place in Arkansas: Petit Jean Mountain.

Bennett Ellis

City: Conway

School: Fourth grade at Ellen Smith Elementary School.

Favorite subject: Art (particularly likes pencil sketches).

What do you enjoy most at school: Being with my friends and learning.

Career plans: I would like to be either a doctor or a dentist.

Community activities: I go to church at Woodland Heights, and I’m on the jump rope team at school. I really like hunting, Upward basketball and Awana.

Family: Parents Ashley and Dr. Ladd Ellis and little brother Cooper (in kindergarten, but wants to take over the recycling program next year).

Who do you admire the most: My parents because they encourage me and support me.

Favorite meal: Mexican food (specifically tacos).

Most cherished possession: Autographed sports cards and memorabilia.

Most enjoyed weekend activity: Playing baseball for my team, the Kansas State Wildcats.

Favorite quote: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Phil. 4:13)