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Southmoreland middle schoolers take on Earth Day project

| Wednesday, May 1, 2013, 9:02 p.m.
Paul Paterra | Independent-Observer
Sixth-grade Students at Southmoreland Middle School participated in an Earth Day Groceries Project in honor of Earth Day. Among those involved were, from left: Morgan Brown, who took first-place in Jodi DiLuca's room; Camille Hunter, who took first in Julie Graft's room; Charleigh Bloom, runner up in DeLuca's room; Alyssa Gaborko, Abby DeLuca, runnerup in Graft's room, and Juie Caruso.

Sixth-grade students at Southmoreland Middle School continued their tradition of taking a mathematical approach to Earth Day with the Earth Day Groceries Project.

Students partake in a cost-free environmental awareness project in which they decorate paper grocery bags with environmental messages.

Julie Graft, who along with Jodi DeLuca, are the math teachers who coordinate the project said this is the fourth or fifth year the students have been involved with the grocery bags.

“We've collected bags from Wise's (Restaurant), Brillhart's (Hardware Store) and Fox's (Pizza Den),” Graft explained. “They gave us their bags to borrow. The kids researched their facts about Earth Day, different statistics, focusing on percents and fractions. They decorated their bags and we returned them (the weekend of April 20-21), so they can be distributed (April 22), since it (was) Earth Day. We're trying to make the community aware of different Earth Day statistics.”

A student from each Graft's and DeLuca class were chosen as winners for the project.

“We pick the best out of all the bags,” DeLuca said. “We have our sixth-grade team come around and vote.”

The winner is Graft's room was Camille Hunter, while Morgan Brown took the honor in DeLuca's class.

Brown's theme was two-fold and involved saving trees and saving more fuel It was titled “Saving Energy” on one side and “Tangled Trees” on the other.

“A lot of people tear down most trees,” Brown said. “My nana had a whole bunch of trees in her back yard and someone them down to make a house. The house is gorgeous, but I like the trees a little bit more.

Brown added that fuel pollutes the air. “If you ride your bike or you walk, you can get some experience,” she said.

Hunter's theme dealt with saving the Earth, titled “Stop What You're Doing and Stop Polluting.”

“Sitting in my car one day I realized all of the black smoke coming out of the car is polluting the environment,” Hunter said.

Chosen as runners-up were Abby DeLuca and Zoe Carson in Graft's room and Charleigh Bloom and Toni Brayo in DeLuca's room.

A Wal-Mart Foundation grant is funding the efforts to bring the winners earth-friendly goody bags. The Pennsylvania Game Commission Seedling for Schools program donated seedlings for each of the sixth-grade students.

A request has been made to Home Depot in Greensburg for the donation of two trees to be planted on the middle school grounds in honor of the students' efforts.

Earth Day is an annual event held worldwide to increase awareness and appreciation of the Earth's natural environment.

The Earth Day Groceries Project is one of the oldest and largest educational activities on the Internet.

Paul Paterra is a staff editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-887-6101 or