FORT BENNING, Ga., (Jan. 8, 2014) -- McBride Elementary School took home first place overall in the recent Columbus Consolidated Government Recycle and Sustainability Center artwork contest. The contest was held in honor of the center's recent opening Dec. 11.

Maribell Valentin, art teacher, selected students to participate in the contest. She said the students were excited to participate in the contest.

"You (could) tell in their faces their excitement in being able to create something out of nothing," Valentin said.

Three of the students, fifth-graders Aleesa Luong, Maria Sosa and Madelyn Burch, created dresses out of trash and recyclable material.

"I was pretty excited because it's not an every single day thing that (you get chosen) to do a dress out of recyclables," Maria said.

Aleesa said she felt like a real designer when she came up with the designs and created the actual dress. Their dresses were created using material including newspaper, trash bags, aluminum foil and CDs.

"The reason why I chose the girls is because they would come to class really fashionable," Valentin said. "They would come all really made up and cute. I talked to them about the recycling project and told them about Warhol ... how he took ordinary things and made artwork out of it like the cans he would do printmaking of the cans."

Valentin said the contest rules mentioned that each project should highlight something about Columbus. Valentin wanted her students to focus on Fort Benning, since it was part of the Columbus community.

Other projects included making a tank out of cardboard and foam and a table out of recyclables.

McBride second-grader Madison Greenwood won first place for her table made of cardboard, a tree stand and bottle tops.

For more information about Columbus' Recycle and Sustainability Center, visit