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Contest asks students to come up with ideal green school

In a study released last week by LifeWay Research, nearly nine in 10 young U.S. adults say it’s up to their generation to clean up the environment, a mess left behind by past generations. In Woolwich, Grade 5 and 6 students across the school boards are getting a start on doing just that as they compete for the title of Capital Paving’s ‘Greenest School.’

THINKING IN SHADES OF GREEN Riverside Public School in Elmira is one of the participants in Capital Paving’s Green School Contest. Students Joey Metz, Sara Ratcliffe and Kyle Rintoul get a jump start on being green by helping out with the school’s recycling .

A number of schools in the township kicked off the competition with assemblies and interactive environmental trivia for the students, all part of the launch of the competition. During the three-month contest period, middle school students are being asked to design the ideal green school. To win the competition, their design should be energy efficient, environmentally friendly, and sustainable for years to come. The winning school will receive at minimum a $6,000 grant that will be used towards improvements to their school.

“At our company we try our best to be environmentally responsible,” explained Capital Paving’s George Lourenco. “So this year we wanted to organize something that is fun for kids, but also a learning experience. It’s important to teach people at a young age about environmental protection and we hope this is a fun way to do that.”

Both the Waterloo Region District School Board and the Waterloo Catholic District School Board are participating in this event, as the contest concept fits nicely with their current science curriculum. The students involved will see real world application of their science education in their design concepts.

“That’s the amazing thing about the project; it is going to tap into all areas of the curriculum,” explained Leslie McNabb, principal of Floradale Public School. “It’s going to tap into design technology, and it’s going to tap into science and language and math. It will teach them about a lot of different things.”

Other participating schools in the area include Conestogo, John Mahood, Park Manor, Riverside, St. Teresa and Breslau PS, where the final round of judging will be held in early December.

During the finals, schools will present their projects in three formats. Each group will present a written description of all the ‘green’ characteristics their school design has to offer, and how each of those items positively impacts the environment. Then, they will display their constructed model illustrating the green design. Finally, the students will have the opportunity to show other schools a short video clip about the process of building their project and the creativity that went into the final product.  Some schools have already started brainstorming their ideas, and McNabb says that the ideas are coming from a wide range of places.

“The kids have already started taking a look at our school and the energy saving measures that we have in place now, and are thinking about what other kinds of features that we might want to include that would help us to be even greener than we already are. It’s a very neat opportunity for them.”

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