Torres Elementary School kindergartners heaved and lugged game board tokens that were larger than life Thursday.

The non-traditional tokens were bags of recyclable materials.

Art teacher Kecia Garcia, who is also head of the school’s recycling program, created a game similar to Monopoly called Recycle Rally to celebrate its completion of the PepsiCo Recycle Rally.

The life-size board game, created with paint and chalk that wrapped around the school’s courtyard, had students starting on “GO” with the opportunities to draw chance and treasure box cards.

The PepsiCo Recycle Rally is a free nationwide program that directly benefits K-12 schools and students by providing valuable incentives and resources to help make recycling easy, fun and rewarding. According to PepsiCo, the U.S. is recycling less than half its bottles and cans.

Garcia and the school began recycling in the 2013-14 school year, which is also the year they took first place in the national contest.

The city’s environmental services met with Victoria elementary schools to encourage them to meet the challenge’s requirement.

Tiffany Koenig, environmental specialist with the city, reminded schools about upcoming deadlines and helped with pickup and weighing items.

“Almost everything is recycable,” Koenig said.

Victoria residents have the option to get recycling bins and participate in the city’s recycling program, she said.

Koenig said the Recycle Rally teaches students to take pride in the environment.

“If you don’t make a difference now, there are consequences to pay when you get older,” she said. “Also when they go home to their parents and grandparents, they can get them on that same pattern of recycling to make that difference.”

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Gabriella Canales reports on education for the Victoria Advocate. She may be reached at or 361-580-6578.

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Education reporter

Gabriella Canales graduated from the University of Houston-Victoria with a B.A. in English in 2016. Feel free to contact her with ideas because she is eager to tell stories.

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