Jessica Lilly Published

Southern W.Va. HS Students Shine In National Spotlight For Environmental Work


A high school in southern West Virginia is getting national attention for a recycling program that rewards people who share recycling stories.

Wyoming East’s Friends of the Earth club submission took top honors in the PepsiCo Recycling Innovation Challenge.

The school program rewarded people who recycled the most with prizes like gift cards. The student created contests expanded from the high school to social media accounts on Tik Tok, Facebook and Instagram challenging friends and answering recycling trivia questions.


Wyoming East High School Friends of the Earth Club, 2021-2022

The Friends of the Earth program received $5,000 for the actionable submission in the Recycling Innovation Challenge. Next up, the students are creating selfie stations at recycling bins across the county.

The students at Wyoming East are also representing West Virginia in the national Samsung Solve for Tomorrow competition after winning state honors last year. Students submitted a video but found out on Thursday, March 17, their project did not make the top 10. The program will still recieve $6,500 for participating in the national competition.

Students are working with leaders to make recycling possible across the county. They met with the county commissioners in December and Mullens Town Council in February.

Two of the six contests set up by the students are currently active on Instagram.