The student gardens outside of Cumming Elementary School set the tone for this year’s Keep Forsyth County Beautiful banquet.
The Tuesday night celebration recognized community leaders for their work to beautify the county, reduce litter and increase recycling.
Local schools received plenty of thanks for their efforts in the past year, including the host school.
Tammy Wright, KFCB environmental programs manager, said it’s a tradition that the banquet is held at a school that will be featured in the ceremony.
This year, Cumming Elementary earned awards for club and educator of the year, as well as the junior leadership honor.
“They all correlate to a similar school because it does take all those components to make it work,” Wright said. “That’s one thing Cumming Elementary has done exemplary.”
The school’s gardens, which students maintain, were an effort headed by teacher Anna Doll, who received the educator of the year award.
The junior leadership honor went to Principal Pam Pajerski for her support of the school’s environmental programs.
The school’s BeCumming Green Team was named top club for its work on the gardens and a successful recycling program that raised about $1,500.
“This is the sort of effort that creates a buzz around the county and inspires others to start clubs and recycling in their own schools,” said Kevin Smith, KFCB community outreach coordinator.
Wright pointed out that public school janitors don’t handle recycling so the agency recognizes campuses that make the effort to recycle.
The recycling coordinator of the year award was presented to Shiloh Point Elementary teacher Elizabeth Stevens, who started a schoolwide recycling contest.
Several Forsyth County schools were honored for their efforts through phonebook recycling awards and banners proclaiming them KFCB green schools, at the gold, silver or bronze level.
Gold level schools included Cumming, Chattahoochee, Midway and Vickery Creek elementary schools and Lambert High.
Community leaders, businesses and organizations also were recognized for their involvement with KFCB.
Boy Scout Troop 62 received the Adopt-a-Road newcomer for its work cleaning up the steep Tower Road.
DataScan Technologies took the award for sponsor of the year.
Service to the community honors went to resident Scott Bailey, whose dedication started when he discovered a pile of tires underneath a bridge near his home.
Wright also reviewed the county program’s accomplishments in the past year.
More than 150 sponsors and partners and more than 4,000 volunteers helped with about 200 community programs.
The local agency was named an honorable mention affiliate of Keep Georgia Beautiful, Wright said.
“But we’re not finished,” she said. “I’m not going to quit until we get higher than that.”