Early College unveils global projects
BY JOHN H. WALKER
Wednesday, May 1, 2019
TARBORO — As it normally is, the atrium at Keihin Auditorium was a beehive of activity around the noon hour on Tuesday as about 100 freshmen, sophomores and seniors at Edgecombe Early College High School showed off their Spring Global Projects to each other and several teacher-judges who were strolling around the 39 projects.
Early College High School Principal Matt Smith said the basis for the projects stemmed from the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals to help promote and implement solutions to global issues.
The 17 goals, targeted for being reached by 2030 by the UN, include no poverty; zero hunger; good health and well-being; quality education; gender equality; clean water and sanitation; affordable and clean energy; decent work and economic growth, industry, production and infrastructure; reduced inequalities; sustainable cities and communities; responsible consumption and production; climate action; life below water; life on land; peace; justice and strong institutions and partnerships for the goals.
The effort has been a semester-long process, said social studies teacher James Guy, who oversees the project.
“We’ve done Spring Global Projects for the last several years and this is the third year we’ve done the United Nations’ Sustainable Projects,” Guy said.
He noted that this year, students targeted specific goals in which they were interested.
The students were divided into 39 teams and team members took turns explaining their projects to observers as they stopped by.
Smith said that as a project was selected, students learned that the finished project — designed to help them meet their goal — would come either as a model, a tool or a campaign. All three were on display at the project unveiling.
“You had some (examples) of each,” Smith said as he told about senior Reynaldo Moreno, who installed a solar panel on top of a gazebo at the school to provide a source for people to charge their laptops, cell phones and other electronic devices.
Smith said Moreno picked a project in which he was interested and did not let a monetary roadblock stand in the way of reaching his goal.
“I talked with my mom and told her about my project,” Moreno said. “She said she could help me and made chili rellenos that my Dad sold at his work. She also made tamales and that raised the rest of the money, so I could purchase the solar panel, charge controls and cables.”
Moreno said he was able to use a battery from his sister’s vehicle, which no longer was operable, to use to store the energy from the solar panel.
Smith said there still was the issue of getting everything installed, which Moreno accomplished by negotiating with Facilities Maintenance Worker Program instructor Dave Rummel.
“He did everything he needed to do to reach his objective,” said Smith, a broad smile on his face.
Under the gazebo, a couple of devices were plugged in, charging without consuming energy.
Other projects included those to help make food available and improve nutrition at a lower cost and a way to remove trash from our waters to make sure drinking water is safe.
Freshman Josh Rose has a garden on the campus that includes watermelons, kale and tomatoes.
“They (the plants) are doing well,” he said. Once ready, Rose will donate his food to Tarboro Community Outreach.
Sophomores Tira Farmer and K’mia Whitehurst tackled the same goal with their Blue Garden project, with the objective of producing more organic food and reducing the dependency on non-organic food.
K’mia said that by increasing organic production and eating more organic foods, people could experience lifestyles like those who live in the world’s “Blue Zones,” where people experience healthier, longer lives.
The duo said their garden of lettuce, tomatoes and cucumbers were planted from seeds and was doing well on its campus plot.
Team B, made up of seniors Mandy Brake and Dylan Brown, looked at ways to clean up the water and reduce pollution from plastics and other trash.
The pair took a radio-controlled boat, outfitted it with a pair of soccer goal-looking nets on extending arms and tested it on Wiggins Lake to see what effect it could have.
“It got a little,” Brake said, “but if we just stopped and picked up trash when we saw it wasn’t where it was supposed to be, we could all make a difference.”
Seniors Autumn Clark, Kamryn Greene and Hunter Phillips took on what might have been the most aggressive project — testing the water quality at all of the schools in Edgecombe County for chlorine and pH content.
All of the schools, with the exception of Coke-Wimberly, were in line with standards. C-W’s chlorine level was 4.3 at one water fountain and 4.1 at another — against a target of between 2 and 3. The pH levels should have been between 7.6 and 7.8, while C-W’s was close to 9 at both fountains.
The Wacky Wallabies, as they named themselves, said they hoped to get their results before the Edgecombe County School Board. Smith assured them it would make it.
Smith told the group he was proud of their efforts and what they had learned as they worked together and continued to progress in their education.