Program helps Aspinwall Catholic school students grasp importance of air quality
Ethan Grainy takes his job as chief air quality officer seriously.
The fifth-grade student at Christ the Divine Teacher Catholic Academy in Aspinwall is part of a group of students who monitor the air quality levels in the area and raise a flag each day to signify how safe the air is.
The program is funded through a $16,000 grant received by the Group Against Smog and Pollution (GASP) from the Southwest Pennsylvania Air Quality Partnership. Students check the website airnow.gov for that day's reading and then raise the appropriate flag.
Christina Salvi, a science teacher at the school, said she learned about the program after researching for an environmental organization to work with.
She said the students have had fun raising the flag and learning about the air around them.
“They loved it, they really enjoyed it,” Salvi said.
Rachel Filippini, executive director of GASP, said the group has funding to cover 25 schools.
The group provides information to get the students started with the program. Then the students take over.
“It's empowering them,” Filippini said. “They're checking the forecast, they're stringing up the right color flag. They're acting as the spokespeople at their school in helping to educate their peers, educators and parents.”
Jewell Condosta, a sixth-grade student, said she has learned how air quality can effect others and what to do if the air is listed as dangerous.
“If it was not as good, like orange or yellow, I would be more cautious,” Condosta said.
Vince Brisini, deputy secretary for the Office of Waste, Air, Radiation and Remediation at the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, said having students take charge of the program will help get the message about clean air to their families.
“If you want the parents to think about things, have the kids tell them,” Brisini said.
Tom McGee is an associate editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 1513, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.