WJJMS eighth-graders celebrate Earth Week

By Kevin Hotary - Staff Writer
Colchester - posted Mon., May. 2, 2011
(From left) Connor James O'Brien, Kyle Enrique and Tim Johnson collecting waste for disposal during Earth Week at WJJMS. Photos by Kevin Hotary.
(From left) Connor James O'Brien, Kyle Enrique and Tim Johnson collecting waste for disposal during Earth Week at WJJMS. Photos by Kevin Hotary.

With Earth Day falling on the last day of spring vacation, eighth-grade students at William J. Johnston Middle School returned to a week’s worth of lessons, readings, movies and lectures about the value of conserving and protecting the planet.

After spring vacation, “All of the science classes were dedicated to Earth Week,” said science teacher Nektaria Provost. And last Friday, the students got the chance to apply what they had learned, as they took part in the school’s annual day-long “greening up,” in support of Earth Day.

Organized by science teacher Cindy Riordan and focused on student learning and ecological awareness, the Earth Day clean-up was, however, a true community project. Working in three teams, one led by Riordan and the others by science teachers Bonnie McAneny and Provost, the students raked, picked up trash and planted flowers throughout the school grounds, as well as at the town green and along Norwich Avenue.

“We’re cleaning up as much as possible,” said math teacher Maddalena Scrivano, who, like many other teachers, was outside helping with the clean-up. While the labor was supplied by the students, the many flowers planted throughout the school grounds were donated by parents and school staff, and the tools used by the students were supplied by the town Parks and Recreation Department, as well as by parents and staff.

“Go green or go home!” said Tom Lasaracina, one of the students outside enjoying the hard work, the sunshine, and the knowledge that they were doing their part for the greater good. Like the others, Lasaracina was wearing one of the bright green “Earth Day Our Way” t-shirts. Providing a memento of the project, and intended to identify the students and make them more visible as they worked around town, many of the shirts quickly filled with the signatures of fellow students to help commemorate the day.

“If you work hard, it will pay off,” said Connor James O’Brien, who was working with fellow students Kyle Enrique and Tim Johnson, shoveling leaves and waste into garbage bags.

“Every little bit helps,” added Enrique.

“They’re outside on a beautiful day. They’re happy,” said Provost of the hard-working students.

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