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First Lady Yumi Hogan Attends 17th Annual Rethink Recycling Sculpture Contest

First Lady Yumi Hogan Attends 17th Annual Rethink Recycling Sculpture Contest
Annual Contest Promotes Recycling and Creativity Among High School Students

ANNAPOLIS, MD – First Lady Yumi Hogan joined Maryland Department of the Environment Secretary Ben Grumbles today at the department’s 17th Annual “Rethink Recycling” Sculpture Contest. The First Lady opened the event by welcoming student artists, teachers, and parents. Later, the department awarded prizes for a horse, a dress, and a cardboard human head – all made from reused materials. Students from Carroll County, Harford County, Baltimore County, and Garrett County won the top prizes.


“The Rethink Recycling sculpture contest is just one of the many ways that the Maryland Department of the Environment educates and empowers our citizens to reuse and recycle. It is very exciting for me personally because this event connects two of my passions – art and our environment,” said First Lady Yumi Hogan. “Maryland high school students are challenged to use recycled and reusable materials – that would otherwise end up in our landfills – to create artistic and innovative sculptures. We should continue to protect our environment and preserve it for generations to come.”

“Maryland is an environmental leader because our schools keep producing students who can turn waste into wealth and litterbugs into nature lovers,” Secretary Grumbles said. “These creative artists who change hearts and minds are key to the governor’s goals for recycling materials and restoring the Chesapeake Bay.”

Maryland residents and businesses recycled more than 3.2 million tons of waste in 2017 and achieved a waste diversion rate of nearly 50 percent, surpassing the state’s voluntary 40 percent waste diversion goal for the ninth straight year.


Rethink Recycling challenges Maryland high school students to use recycled materials to create artistic and innovative sculptures. This year, 62 entries from 23 schools across the state were on display.

Mary Garrison from South Carroll High School in Carroll County was the grand prize winner for her sculpture “Golden Mare” made using gold metal objects, necklaces, cardboard, wire, and a drawer handle. She received a Dell laptop and four passes to the National Aquarium for her efforts.

The category winners, who each received JBL Pulse 3 Bluetooth Speakers and wireless headsets, were:

  • Creativity: Huy NguyenTowson High School, Baltimore County, for “The Face of Hoy,” using cardboard and hot glue;
  • Workmanship: Jocelyn SchochSouthern Garrett High School, Garrett County, for creating “Flying Freedom,”  made of steel wool, wire, wood, foam, soda cans, plastic bags, CDs, and hot glue;
  • Use of Materials: Stephanie Zulak, Joppatowne High School, Harford County, for “Cirque de Corbeille,” made of cassette tape, rope, spoons, crayons, discarded jewelry, coffee filters, K-Cups, pill bottles, trash bags, and marker lids; and
  • People’s Choice: Adrianna Wood, Century High School, Carroll County, for “‘Screw it’ I’m going to L.A.,” made of screws.

The runners-up, who each received $100 Amazon gift cards, were:

  • Creativity: Patricia EzejiPatapsco High School, Baltimore County, for her work entitled “Terry the Peacock,” using wood, school papers, plastic bottles, and an old pair of jeans;
  • Workmanship: Kun Feng, Towson High School, Baltimore County, for crafting “Cardboard Phoenix,” made from cardboard and hot glue;
  • Use of Materials: Meghan Martin and Khelsa ConnollyLinganore High School, Frederick County, for constructing “Sole Surfer,” from old running shoes; and
  • People’s Choice: Rayven DearsSuitland High School, Prince George’s County, for “Seraph,” made from glass beads, wire, and wood.

Sponsors of the event were the American Cleaning Institute, Blick Art Materials, Exelon, National Museum of Civil War Medicine, Maryland Recycling Network, the MD-DE-D.C.Beverage Association, National Aquarium, Giant, and Waste Management, Inc. Sponsors donated prizes, funding, and refreshments for this year’s contest.

“Artistry plays a role in innovation, which is in turn a key factor in the development of sustainable cleaning products and chemistries,” said Brian Sansoni, vice president of communications and outreach at the American Cleaning Institute in Washington, D.C. “We are proud to help shine the spotlight on innovative young artists whose work showcases the critical importance of recycling in bringing new life to old materials.”

The judging panel tasked with determining the winners of the contest based on creativity and workmanship were: John Lewis, instructor at the Maryland Institute College of Art; Jenna Rayman, current MICA student and former winner of the Rethink Recycling sculpture contest; and artist Kasey Jones. Hilary Miller, former director of the Maryland Department of the Environment‘s Land and Materials Administration, judged her own separate category concerning the use of materials.

Since 2001, the Department of the Environment has celebrated America Recycles Day by hosting the annual “Rethink Recycling” Sculpture Contest. High school students from across Maryland are invited to participate by creating sculptures made of recycled and reusable materials. “Rethink Recycling” is just one way MDE educates and empowers the public to reuse and recycle materials that would have otherwise gone into landfills. To find out what you can do to reduce, reuse, recycle and buy recycled products, visit MDE’s recycling web page. It is the mission of the department to protect and restore the environment for the health and well-being of all Marylanders.

Visit MDE’s Flickr Page for more photos from today’s event.


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