Teenager Turns Rubbish into Rockets

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COLUMBIA - Hickman High School student Michael York teaches recycling classes at the Boys and Girls Club.

York teaches for a purpose: to educate others about going green.

"When they do recycle, they don't just have to go to a recycling area and give them cans for money," said York. "You can actually recycle by creating something," he added.

York enjoys finding what most consider trash and turning it into treasure. One of York's favorite projects is to make "bottle rockets."

The rockets started as rubbish---items that were thrown away but could have been recycled. The rockets are made from old two-liter bottles, scrap paper and rubber tubing.

The actual rocket is scrap paper, and it is attached to the rubber tubing. By stomping on the two-liter bottle, children witness explosive fun and a soaring piece of scrap paper.

Aside from creating a fun summer project that teaches children, York's mother sees the bigger picture.

"He's teaching them how to care about their community. You don't know have to throw away things, and you can help other kids and have fun too," said Bonnie York, Michael's mother.

Michael York is currently working with Nike to turn old shoes into synthetic turf through the "Re-Use a Shoe Project."