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  • Keep RC Beautiful Staff

Green Litter Sweep Success and Trash Bowl Winners!!

Updated: Sep 16, 2021

Litter Sweep & Trash Bowl Add 6,300 Pounds of Litter to Keep Rutherford County Beautiful 2019 Collection Tally and a Big Congratulations to the 2019 Champions Thomas Jefferson Classical Academy

Rutherford County, NC - October 22, 2019: As an expansion of the Keep Rutherford County Beautiful (Keep RC Beautiful) organization’s mission to educate and motivate citizens to keep Rutherford County litter-free, individuals, teams and high schools rallied last week for both a Rutherford County Community-Wide Litter Sweep and the Rutherford County Trash Bowl that resulted in a combined litter collection of 6,300 pounds of trash from across Rutherford County.

The week-long collection brings the 2019 annual tally of litter removed from Rutherford County to 26,000 pounds, which equates to more than 13 tons! 

The Rutherford County Community-Wide Litter Sweep has been taking place for more than three years and has seen huge growth in participation and trash collected year to year.  Sponsored by Keep RC Beautiful, last week 13 community teams were formed with over 100 Rutherford County citizens. Together these teams collected more than 160 bags of trash weighing more than 2,300 pounds. The teams were comprised of organizations and individuals who were willing to get outside and get the job done, piling up the plastic bags for NCDOT pickup, with many of them keeping gloves on hand for last-minute litter sightings.

As successful as the individual and organization-led efforts were, they were no match for the students and educators that simultaneously competed in the first annual Rutherford County Trash Bowl, in which high school students, faculty, staff and families from Rutherford County high schools collected more than 4,000 pounds of litter removed from parks and roadsides! Chase High, East Rutherford High, Lake Lure Classical Academy, R-S Central High, and Thomas Jefferson Classical Academy competed head to head for the honor of being the school with the most trash collected and awarded the Trash Bowl trophy for their students to enjoy for the year. Students, faculty, staff, and families all signed on to eagerly support the competitive beautification of the county.

Keep RC Beautiful marketing committee members Jenna Bailey, Clark Poole, Taylor Hardin and Stephanie Rzonca developed the idea for the high school Trash Bowl at the conclusion of the Spring Litter Sweep.  “We had such an overwhelming number of participants in the Spring Litter Sweep," Jenna Bailey, Partner of Artifacturing LLC, explained of the inspiration for the event. "We wanted to develop an initiative focused on our young adults for fall. A friendly competition rose to be the best way to engage them in the educational experience of cleaning up after careless people while showing pride in their district.”

Most of the schools identified a Trash Bowl Coordinator, and then strategized the best way to engage students in the effort. One school asked their cross country team to identify prime pick up locations while running, and recruited the environmental club to do the actual hauling of the litter.  Another found support in partnering with their corresponding middle school, and others capitalized on class-time clean ups.

The Keep RC Beautiful mascot, Roxi the Raccoon, provided a scavenger hunt for children in the past, but the Trash Bowl took the idea of a “treasure hunt” to a whole new level. First year teacher Ms. Chaleise Burley, of Thomas Jefferson Classical Academy, found students to be enthusiastic about scavenging for litter. “At first they acted like it was a strange request to pick up trash at various locations near the school, but it didn’t take long before they were racing back to show me what they’d found. Before we knew it, they were hauling discarded mattresses and couches to the roadsides for pickup, and I was having to discourage them from some of the unsafe spaces they were begging to gather trash from.”

Lake Lure Classical Academy took second place in the inaugural Trash Bowl.

Photo credit: Clint Calhoun

On Tuesday, members of the Keep RC Beautiful Committee presented Thomas Jefferson Classical Academy (TJCA) with the 2019 Trash Bowl Trophy and officially named them the Trash Bowl Champions! TJCA filled two dumpsters along with large debris collected by NCDOT, and ultimately collected the majority of the litter, totaling 2,714 pounds! In second place, with 840 pounds of trash and a community of support, was Lake Lure Classical Academy. East Rutherford took third place, with R-S Central in fourth and Chase finishing in fifth. 

“This fall clean up event was a huge success," Clark Poole, Executive Director for the Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce, said. "And we are cognizant that TJCA will defend their title with gumption in 2020. A heartfelt thanks to all our young adults, parents and educators that participated. You are all great examples for your peers, and I am excited to see where this leads next fall.”

While the competition was fun, the community collaboration was also a significant win for the County. Republic Waste Services kindly donated the dumpsters and manpower to get them placed and picked up on site at the schools.  Roxi the Racoon visited high school football games to raise awareness and cheer alongside each team’s mascots and cheerleaders. Night Owl Iron Works constructed the Trash Bowl Trophy while Tri-City Laser provided the base and plaques. Rutherford Waste Management visited all sites to confirm that the trash was indeed roadside trash and collected the ballot boxes made available by the Board of Elections. Salem United Methodist Church parked their pick up truck on East Rutherford Middle School’s campus to transport bags to the high school. The school leadership was also instrumental in allowing such an event to occur.  Thank you to all supporters and contributors of the Keep RC Beautiful initiatives! 

“It was a great community event and we were glad to get the students involved," Brad White, High School Principal of Lake Lure Classical Academy said. "We had over 70 high school students picking up trash on Wednesday before our break. The Rutherford County Police Department was a huge help as well.”

Keep RC Beautiful continues to respond to the call of County Commissioners to beautify the county with a focus on litter sweeps, education, and marketing. Save the date for the next Community-Wide Spring Litter Sweep taking place on April 18th through April 26th, 2020. Fall 2020 Trash Bowl dates will be released in spring.

Participants for the 2019 Fall Litter Sweep include: Town of Forest City including Amy Bridges, Janet Mason, Steve Holland, Sherri Holland, Mr. Mosteller, Barry Spurlin, Shannon; Rutherford Outdoor Coalition including Dana  Bradley, Tim Lovelace, Donald Blanton, Theresa Johnson, Callia Johnson, Jason Smoak, Terry Henderson (troop 129), Fred Matthews, Joe Smathers, Tyler Bryan (troop 129), Ryan Smith (troop 129), Alex Beavers (troop 129), Carlie Richardson, Maria Richardson, Sam Ryley, Peter Ryley, Hunter Hefner (troop 129) Beckett Webber (troop 129), Andrew Pope (troop 129), Kylie Dobbins, Amelia Resendeiz, Abigail Hutchins, Aa’Lynna Bridges, Harley Sheehan, Sarah Kick, Kensley Gonzales, Leiola Yelton, Choloe Hannon, Lilly Yelton; Town of Spindale including Scott Webber, Mara H, Eric Reid, John Robert, Lisa Webber, Benny P, Amber Christopher, Eddie Searcy; Rutherford County Tourism Development Authority including Don Cason, Taylor Hardin, Karen Tegen, Robi Robinson, Emily Ostertag; Rutherford Police Department including Clint Ingle, Tyler Dills, Rick Gilbert, Brian Martin, Joey Holland, Seth Watkins, Kevin Lovelace; 2nd Baptist Church including Chad Dillard, Keith Stephenson, Shannon Dillard, Connie Dalziel, Harper Dillard, Laynil Dillard, Cindy McDaniel, Todd McDaniel, Luke McDaniel, Roger Wilkerson; George and Mariam Moyer, Lisa Garrett, Jeff Garrett, Bud Oates, Karl Trumpler, Walter Vosbaugh, Rick Reed, Debbie Rennie, Janis Rosebaum, Joey Buchanan, Mike Scruggs, Doug Sheets, Kay Sheets, Liz Cealilla, Don Lesher, Sally Lesher; Town of Rutherfordton’s Stephanie Rzonca; Salem United Methodist Church including Rev. Samuel Burleson, Erin Burleson, Andrew Burleson, Alayna Hastings, Rebecca Hastings; Jenna Bailey, Alexis Bailey, Teagan Bailey; Leah Buckley, Carly Kauffman, Shannon Buckley, Gwen Logan, Jeny Keeter, Shawn Keeter, Albert Moore, Don Campbell; Barbara Meliski and friends; Doug Barrick, and Leslie Brandle. 

To learn more, visit the Facebook page @KeepRCNCBeautiful, the website or email

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