Valley Elementary School is a rural, one-room schoolhouse with five students ranging from age six to ten, located 36 miles from the nearest town. They won the School Challenge in 2013 and were a mere 16 pounds shy of winning in 2014. Valley has been using the proceeds to fund playground equipment—swings and a zipline are next on the wish list. This motivated crew is the school to beat!

How do they do it?

  • Lots of promoting. They advertise their can drive through their local newspaper, Facebook page, free online ads, the radio, school district emails, word of mouth and phonecalls.
  • Special events. They collect cans at a nightly rodeo that takes place in the summer; and as a final push before the Challenge deadline in April, they hold their “Can Can” event at the Cody Recycling Center, where students don aluminum-can costumes and dance the can-can!
  • Partnerships. One supporter collects cans weekly from the Buffalo Bill Center of the West Museum in Cody; another takes care of daily pickups from the rodeo in the summertime.
Amount Recycled: 430 pounds/student in one year

Money Raised: $6,000 prize money