LEWISTON — A group of Lewiston Middle School students has won $500 from Portland-based ecomaine to decorate one of the nonprofit’s massive recycling containers.

The 13 students are part of the 21st Century Community Learning Center’s Lewiston Educational Achievement Program, or LEAP. Each student contributed to a recycling-themed mural and LEAP submitted the design to ecomaine’s Recycling is a Work of Art competition.

Six groups submitted artwork and all six were chosen. Ecomaine spokeswoman Shelley Dunn said judges liked that Lewiston’s mural was colorful and conveyed that recycling is important.

“I was really happy,” said 12-year-old Jaime Gagne, a seventh-grader. “It’s a good opportunity for us to get out there and paint a recycle bin and just have people know that recycling can help our planet.”

LEAP will spend the $500 on paint and supplies to paint the students’ mural on the recycling container. Students are expected to start painting the container, which stands more than 22 feet long, 8 feet wide and more than 6 feet high, next week.

After it’s painted, the container will be circulated among ecomaine’s 44 member and affiliate towns, where it will be used to collect recyclables.

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