Lydia Middleton Elementary School fourth grader Daniel Espinoza takes care of the recycling bins in the school offices on Thursday. (Staff photo by Ken Ritchie)
Lydia Middleton Elementary School fourth grader Daniel Espinoza takes care of the recycling bins in the school offices on Thursday. (Staff photo by Ken Ritchie)
In a flash, fourth-graders Gabrielle Leons and Paige Catt dash to three separate classrooms along the bottom floor of Lydia Middleton Elementary School. They're carrying a large plastic bag and filling it with each room's recyclables.

Together they tie the bag and take it down to the basement before returning to the main office.

The two fourth-grade students are members of the Mayor's Eagles, a service-learning program for fourth- and fifth-graders at Lydia Middleton.

School counselor Nancy Standmark has run the program for 13 years.

She said seeing the students get excited about the work they do keeps her coming back.

"It's really important for kids to give back to their community and their school," Standmark said.

The Mayor's Eagles, Standmark said, has become a popular club for students. This year, 70 students have signed up to be a part of the program.

"They're the leaders in the school," Standmark said. "They do more than just the recycling."

Daniel Espinoza, a fourth-grader at Lydia Middleton, said he's been looking forward to becoming a member of the Mayor's Eagles for a while now. He's excited to learn different life skills.

"I've learned a lot about teamwork so far," he said. "More and more about it each time."

Standmark said the students handle a variety of jobs around the school, including the annual canned food drive, changing out the sign in front of the school and Red Ribbon week. They also perform community service projects. In the past they've done work around nursing homes, the Humane Society and Habitat of Humanity.

To become a member of the Mayor's Eagles, a student has to receive a letter of recommendation from a teacher and a parent.