CHICAGO (WBBM) — A small Northwest Side Catholic school is claiming a big prize Wednesday – $100,000 – for winning a national recycling competition.

St. Pascal’s School, 6143 W. Irving Park Rd., and its 150-plus students took over first place in February in Pepsi’s Dream Machine Recycle Rally. They never let go.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Bernie Tafoya reports

Principal Denise Landers says with the help of the community and others, the school collected 2,300 aluminum cans and plastic bottles per student – almost twice as much as the second-place school in Niceville, Fla.

She says students learned more about recycling and taking care of the earth, “But I want to believe they also learned how important it is to have people come together to work together around a common goal.”

Landers says St. Pascal’s would like to use much of the $100,000 winnings to build a new computer lab powered by solar energy.

School assistant Ginny Quinones says having a new computer lab will be awesome, but even better is that the students learned so much about recycling and helping the planet.