You are on page 1of 4

Olsen 1

Bryn Olsen

Mrs. Jackie Burr, Instructor

English 2010, Section 5

21 February 2017

The Lesson I Learned in Fourth Grade About Recycling

As I sat crisscross applesauce on the cold and sleek tile floor in the lunchroom of my

school, my mind wasnt on the fact that there was an assembly happening, but more on the

thought of when I could sit in an upright chair again. The lights dimmed and the projector

revealed just a few hints on what this assembly could possibly be about. As a lady walked on

stage introducing who she was and why she was here, I heard the kid sitting next to me groan.

Oh great, I thought, just as unexcited and unenthusiastic as the kid next to me. Little did I

know that at first what I thought was a dumb assembly would turn into something that still

interests to me today.

If I were to ask 20 of my closests friends and family about their thoughts on fourth grade,

their answers would probably be, a grade in school that I have forgotten about. Maybe this is

because elementary school years were not as memorable as junior high or high school. The

drama, stress, and excitement levels were low, and everything in elementary school was easy

breezy, with little to no homework. But to me, fourth grade was more than that just a grade in

elementary school. Particular moments and memories that stuck out to me, making my fourth

grade year the most memorable.

For the first nine years of my life, I had lived in a humble home located in West Valley

City, Utah. Although as a child, what I only remember is very little or next to nothing, I do
Olsen 2

remember that I absolutely loved my house and my neighborhood. My humble home was the

place where my parents brought my brother home for the very first time, where I learned how to

ride a bike without training wheels, and where I learned how to build friendships that have lasted

a lifetime.

Nine years is a long time to live in a house, but as my family friends and my best friends

all decided to move away, my family also decided to join in the moving away parade. Moving

from all that I had grown up with was bittersweet. My dad was eager to move closer to his work,

my mom was ready for a bigger and nicer home, and the kids? Well we were too young to care.

At ages 9 and 5, could you blame us?

You know how at the beginning I said that there were very few moments that I remember

from fourth grade? Heres a good memory, my first day at a brand new school. Starting a new

school to many people is like riding a bike, once you learn how to do it one time, its not difficult

to pick it back up and do it again. As my mother dropped me off for the first time at my new

school, I remember the brave face she put on as she drove the thirty minutes to get to my school.

Her words before I hopped out of the car were, Now remember, Bryn, youre not going to know

a single person. No grownups, no kids, not one single person. I replied with, I know mom. But

Ill be okay. I was going to a school where I had not yet moved into the neighborhood, where

there would be no familiar faces, not a single friend. I was completely and utterly alone, but it

didnt matter to me because somehow the brave little nine-year-old me knew everything was

going to be alright.

Two weeks after having my very first day at a new school, my family and I finally were

able to move into our new home. As the school year dragged on, nothing excited seemed to be
Olsen 3

happening. Everyday was just turning into a routine, with the same things happening over and

over again. Then one day took an unexpected turn as the principal announced overhead asking

for all students to go down to the lunch room for an assembly.

When the assembly first began, just like most of my fellow classmates, I was

uninterested. Recycling and garbage seemed uncool and too grownup for elementary kids.

Seeing our bored facial expressions, the recycling lady resumed her presentation. As she

continued, to my surprise, her topic of trash and recycling was interesting and entertaining to me.

The recycling lady explained more about recycling: what it is, what can be recycled, and

overflowing landfills that recycling can help reduce waste. With each new fact, her presentation

hooked me on the idea and the thought of recycling and saving our planet. That day, I think what

intrigued me the most about this topic was the fact that in 15 to 20 years there could possibly be

no more room for our waste and landfills are overflowing. Although the kid sitting next to me

fell asleep and was totally oblivious to the assembly, my little nine year-old self was eager about

idea of recycling and making our world just a little bit cleaner.

As I walked home that day, I carried the What To Recycle pamphlet with pride. Even

though my friends made fun of me on the walk home from school, I could not have cared less. I

was determined to share my knowledge with my family, to improve the world, make the Earth

happier, to save the animals, and save the human race.

Later that night at dinnertime, I shared with my parents that pamphlet the recycling lady

gave to me at an assembly. To my shock and surprise my family had already been recycling right

for a few years, there was only a few items that we were recycling wrong. For the next few years

my parents described me as the Recycling Nazi because if I knew if that plastic bag should be
Olsen 4

recycled, I let my family know. Although it seemed silly and sometimes obnoxious, I realized

that recycling wasnt a huge lifestyle change, but it was the small and simple things made the

world just a little bit better. In the next few years I also realized that recycling wasnt just

throwing my plastic water bottles or metal cans into the recycling bin, but it was, and still is, so

much more. Its turning off the water while brushing your teeth, turning off your car when it is

unnecessarily on, carpooling, walking to school, turning off all of the lights, donating your

clothes to thrift shops, and so much more. I think that is what I loved most about recycling, the

fact that it was the smallest actions that make the biggest difference, and everyone can recycle.

Related Interests