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  • Keep RC Beautiful Staff

2024 RecycleBot Challenge Celebrates Young Innovators

Rutherford County Third-Graders Showcase Environmental Creativity

Rutherford County, NC: The anticipation is over, and the winners for the 2024 RecycleBot Challenge have been unveiled! Embracing the spirit of "Earth Month'' this April, Keep Rutherford County Beautiful (KRCB) invited third graders across Rutherford County to unleash their creativity by crafting robots from recycled materials, all in a bid to assist mascots Roxi and Rocki the Raccoon in their mission to recycle and preserve the environment.

This year, Keep Rutherford County Beautiful (KRCB) was delighted to receive 115 entries representing 140 students, showcasing a wealth of creative talent from across the county. The competition entries came from Pinnacle Elementary, Rutherfordton Elementary, Trinity Christian Schools, and welcomed newcomers from Lake Lure Classical Academy and Ellenboro Elementary. The impressive display of ingenuity made the judging process both exhilarating and challenging for the panel of esteemed judges, including Chimney Rock State Park’s Emily Sommerfeldt, Rutherford County Library System’s Amber Saint Clair, Dayna Causby  KRCB Committee Member, Gabe Isaac - Rutherford Outdoor Coalition, Taylor Hardin - Tourism Authority of Rutherford County, Shelley Roberts - Artifacturing, Reagan Johnson - Norris Public Library, and Jenna Bailey - Executive Director for KRCB.

"It is a tough, but rewarding, task judging the creative entries," remarked Dayna Causby. " The many unique ideas showed dedication and imagination. Seeing the effort and commitment from this year's third graders revealed their grasp of KRCB's mission and inspired a fresh determination to encourage the passion in our youth and their families for keeping our communities clean and beautiful."

The diversity and creativity of the RecycleBots prompted the committee to award students in nine categories including Most Unique, Best Use of Materials, and Fan Favorite, showcasing the exceptional talent and dedication of Rutherford County's budding environmental stewards.

Keep Rutherford County Beautiful extends its heartfelt appreciation to all participants, supporters, and volunteers who contributed to making the 2024 RecycleBot Challenge a resounding success. Together, we celebrate the power of creativity and environmental stewardship in shaping a brighter, greener future for Rutherford County and beyond.

Winners for Best Overall (Bot and Story) are:

1st Place /  Gacey Tolley with “Who Lettha Dogsout” the RecycleBot at Pinnacle Elementary

Who Lettha Dogsout lives outside. His feet plant and water trees. His gears make the seeds. His buttons go into the gears and make the seeds. If you open the door on the back there is a waterhole and a first aid kit. His poop comes out dirt and is healthy for the earth. His nose is a shovel.


What materials were used? Cereal box, bottle, buttons, toilet paper rolls, and tape.  

2nd Place /  Phoebe Bourrie and Charleston Davis with “Miss Box” the RecycleBot at Lake Lure Classical Academy 


3rd Place / Henry Wood with “Perfection the Turtle” the RecycleBot at Pinnacle Elementary 


Winners for Fan Favorite (based on facebook album votes) are:

1st Place / Hailey Toney with “bucee-bot” the RecycleBot at Trinity Christian School

Bucee-bot lives in a grocery store. Recycles food containers picks up trash and puts it in the correct bins. He helps people pick out their favorite snacks. helping people charges up his batteries on his gauge. He really likes snacks and helping people, just like me! 

What materials were used? Corrugated cardboard, bucees bag, box, food boxes, paper towel roll.  

2nd Place / Olivia Christian and Odette Ertl with “Carl” the RecycleBot at Lake Lure Classical Academy 

3rd Place / Cora Lynne Whiteside with “Lucy Mae Whitesides” the RecycleBot at Trinity Christian School 

Winners for Most Creative (good imagination or original ideas) are:

1st Place / Percy Graudszus with “Clark” the RecycleBot at Trinity Christian School

What does “Clark” do?  Clark lives with me. He cleans the park, and uses his tracks and blade to keep trash away from the creek.


What materials were used? Cardboard tape, and juice containers, plastic bottles, cans 

2nd Place / Jeremiah Yelton with “Bear Bot” the RecycleBot at Pinnacle Elementary 

3rd Place / Ruben Romero with “E.t.-Enternaitinal team” the RecycleBot at Rutherfordton Elementary 

Winners for Most Unique are:

1st Place / Jaxon Lee and Jaxton Vance with “Clicks” the RecycleBot at Pinnacle Elementary

What does “Clicks” do?  Clicks lives in a big city. Clicks has big arms to lift heavy scrap metal in his city. Clicks has a vacuum on the back of his body and a filter on the top of his vacuum. There is a hole at the end that stores and filtered scrap materials. His body is a magnet that has an alarm that tells him if he did not suck up all the trash. He's very fast and can clean the city quick.


What materials were used? Plastic bottle, tape, cone, tissues, paper.  

2nd Place / Brian Roper with “Goody” the RecycleBot at Trinity Christian School 

3rd Place / Kailyn Brunson with “Trashy” the RecycleBot at Rutherfordton Elementary 

Winners for Best Use of Plastic and/or Styrofoam are:

1st Place /  Carter McEntire with “Tiger” the RecycleBot at Rutherfordton Elementary

What does “Tiger” do?  Tiger lives in the Ocean. My robot cleans the oceans. He can go underwater and pick up all the trash that people throw in the ocean. After he collects it he can recycle it to help keep the ocean clean.


What materials were used? A milk jug, water bottles and duct tape.  

2nd Place /  Waylon Ferguson with “Tony the Planter Bot” the RecycleBot at Rutherfordton Elementary

3rd Place / Mac Adkins with “Carter” the RecycleBot at Ellenboro Elementary 

Winners for Best Use of E-Waste

1st Place /  Caley Scruggs with “Bob” the RecycleBot at Trinity Christian School

What does “Bob” do?  Bob rolls around the streets. I'm Bob the robot cleaner, you can find me cleaning up trash in your neighborhood streets. I vacuum up all the trash to recycle and make toys for all the boys and girls.


What materials were used? Plastic containers, bottle caps, muffin, box, egg carton, recycled parts.  

2nd Place /  Erik Threfall and Zackery Bemis with “Recycable Trashcan” the RecycleBot at Lake Lure Classical Academy 

3rd Place / Lex Maksimenko and Elora Nunez with “Ted Two Thousand” the RecycleBot at Lake Lure Classical Academy 

Winners for Best Use of Paper and/or Textiles are:

1st Place /  Aly Wyatt and Hannah Warren with “Lilly” the RecycleBot at Lake Lure Classical Academy

What does “Lilly” do?  Lilly lives in Rutherford County NC. Lilly helps the Earth by picking up trash and recycling it for the environment.


What materials were used? A milk jug, water bottles and duct tape.  

2nd Place /  Creasy Cole with “Penelope” the RecycleBot at Pinnacle Elementary

3rd Place / Ashly Gonzalez with “Lyeve” the RecycleBot at Rutherfordton Elementary

Winners for Roxi’s Picks are:

1st Place /  Azaria Rowe and Elsie Rogers with “Bobby” the RecycleBot at Lake Lure Classical Academy

What does “Bobby” do?  Bobby lives in South Africa. Bobby helps the environment by picking up trash in the ocean and helping animals that are hurt.


What materials were used? cardboard, cartons, tape 

2nd Place /  Jackson Duerr and Sam Auletti with “Axel” the RecycleBot at Lake Lure Classical Academy 

3rd Place / Cyrus Appling with “Saver” the RecycleBot at Rutherfordton Elementary

Winners for Rocki’s Picks are:

1st Place /  Mayson Gillespie with “Mr Nutella” the RecycleBot at Rutherfordton Elementary

What does “Mr Nutella” do?  Mr. Nutlea lives in Ohio. My recycle bot will pick up and recycle trash. It will use the trash to make playgrounds for kids. This will help the environment.


What materials were used? Cardboard  

2nd Place /  Izabella Dobbins with “Fuzzy Bunny” the RecycleBot at Pinnacle Elementary 

3rd Place / Caleb Vega with “Bandit” the RecycleBot at Pinnacle Elementary 

Winners received family passes to Chimney Rock State Park, coupons for McDonald's Happy Meals and coupons for free ice cream from Scoop. 

Every third-grader who submitted a RecycleBot in the challenge received an official RecycleBot sticker and a paper leaf seed packet to plant.  We would like to acknowledge all the third-graders who entered the 2023 RecycleBot Challenge by listing them below by School & Teacher.

Ellenboro Elementary School

Mac Adkins, Never York, South, Cole 

Lake Lure Classical Academy

Mrs. Warner: Azaria Rowe, Elsie Rogers, Dylan Lynch, Tyler Saltouros, Eleanor Willis, Erik Threfall, Hannah Warren, Aly Wyatt, Holden Hughes, Colton Hill, Hunter Lilliburg, Jackson Duerr, Sam Auletti, Jayden Fernanders, Jacob Warren, Lex Maksimenko, Elora Nunez, Madalyn Powell, Marleigh Hornbeck, Olivia Christian, Phoebe Bourrie, Charleston Davis, Rylan Turnure, Sawyer Thomson, Hayvin Lankford, Waylon McAbee, Owen Price, Wren Street, Leah McDaniel, Zoey Brown, Sophia Staley, Collin Tankersly, Tealor Carnes,  Martin Araque Tellez,  Zackery Bemis, Emory Sumlin,  Odette Ertl,  Loclee Singleton.

Pinnacle Elementary School

Mrs. Hutchins: Alyssa Thompson, Brayden Wall, Caleb Vega, Cason Padgett, Floyd Williams, Elias Renteria-Gonzalez, Ella Roberson, Autumn, Ethan Gibbs, Daniel Hodge, Gracey Tolley, Izabella Dobbins, Jackson Parker, Jackson Williams, Jaxon Lee, Jaxton Vance, Jeremiah Yelton

Mrs. Summey:  Ariana Jimison, Bentley Belue, Warren Lane, Creasy Cole, Henry Wood, Jocelynn Rowe, Laela Kaite, Maddie Peterson, Luke Ferguson, Myles Roberson, Raylen Snethen, Miles Thrift, Sunni Blanton

Rutherfordton Elementary School

Mrs. Beattie: Adalynn Pittman, Anthony Marlett, Ayden Mauney, Brinley Bailey, Chloe Morgan, Ember Hall, Emily Rosa, Hailey Gibson, Holden Moore, Jamison Bradley, Jayden Price, Keenan Stanley, Lexsey Whiteside, Major Wingo, Malachi Sturgill, Masen Holland, Riley Silvers, Riley Womick, Terry Tate, Waylon FarrisMrs. Hodge: Ainsley Watson, Allyson Gibson, Ashly Gonzalez, Aubrey Moore, Brooklyn Coley, Brooklyn Owens, Carter McEntire, Genesis Murray, Isaac Rodriguez, Jasper Lewis, Joshlynn Horton, Kailyn Brunson, Kamryn Carson, Kylan Loomis, Lincoln McLaughlin, Maddie Kirby, Micah Staley, Noah Melton, Ruben Romero-Perez, Samuel Rogers, Waylon FergusonMrs. Horne: Abigail Crawford, Adam Bradshaw, Ava McClung, Blake Brewer, Bria Vickers, Cyrus Appling, Dailyn Jimerson, David Manis, Gavin Whitley, Holly Swafford, Hunt McCraw, Jayceon Sherrill, Layla Langley, Logan Toney, Madison Owens, Mayson Gillespie, Olivia Taunton, Riley Hancock, Rylan Watt, TJ Shade, Tyler Scoggins

Trinity Christian School

Mrs. Mansberry: Brayden Erwood, Brain Roper, Caden Radford, Cora Whiteside, Hailey Toney, Percy Graudszus

Ms. Crowe: Aubree Roberts, Jenna Shahan, Caley Scruggs

A heartfelt thank you goes out to all involved. This would not be possible without the support of the KRCB Committee, the participation from our public & private school systems, their teachers, the student's parents, and the donations from our prize sponsors. To see all 115 submissions as well as the winner's announcement album, head to the KRCB Facebook page @KeepRCNCBeautiful. Keep up-to-date on other initiatives in the county spearheaded by KRCB to make a cleaner, more sustainable future. 

About Keep Rutherford County Beautiful:

Keep Rutherford County Beautiful (KRCB) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting environmental stewardship, sustainability, and community beautification in Rutherford County, North Carolina. As an affiliate of Keep America Beautiful, KRCB leads various initiatives, including litter cleanups, recycling programs, and educational outreach efforts, to foster a cleaner, greener, and more sustainable environment for all residents.

Follow KRCB on Social Media:

Facebook: @KeepRCNCBeautiful

Instagram: @keeprcncbeautiful

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