Children at a Yellowknife school stunned reporters on Thursday by appearing to understand the purpose of telephone directories.

Mildred Hall School students were awarded a cheque for $750 by Northwestel to recognize their efforts in recycling so many of the company’s NWT phone books.

The school’s students were reported to have recycled 1,302 of the 2,200 directories in circulation within the territory – a staggering effort in its own right.

However, yet more surprisingly, children at the school had some grasp of what the books were actually for.

“That? It’s a phone book. It tells you numbers,” one young student told Cabin Radio.

“Where do you get them?” Asked another student, Amelia. “Do we get one?”

Questioned regarding what she would do with one of the directories if given a copy, Amelia admitted: “I dunno.”

Phone books have been decreasing in number, and size, as customers and companies turn to smartphones, online search, and social media for communication and contacts.

Since 2011, major US telecoms companies have gradually phased out the distribution of paper directories in a range of states.