For the third year in a row, New Roads School’s Middle School students were named Streets to Seas champions. The team, which was made of ten seventh-graders, came up with an innovative way to study water usage on campus and created an incentive program to help reduce water waste.

The competition, sponsored by Generation Earth and Clean LA, was put on by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Works and featured more than 35 public, private, and charter schools from across Los Angeles County. It asked schools to design an education campaign that addresses an environmental problem in their community with regards to water usage and awareness.

New Roads students teamed up with the on-campus facilities staff to identify the problem. They measured water usage in toilets and water fountains around campus and found that New Roads campus used about 187 gallons of water per day, most water waste caused by water fountains. The team came up with a hypothesis: “If all students used [reusable] water bottles instead of drinking straight from the water fountains, the system would be much more efficient,” reads the team’s submitted competition proposal. To test their hypothesis, they covered a fountain’s drain with a stopper. Three students drank from the fountain for ten seconds. They measured the water that was left behind and divided its volume by the fountain’s water flow rate to conclude that 61 percent of water that comes from water fountains is wasted.

The students created, and pilot tested, an awareness campaign. They encouraged their fellow classmates to start bringing water bottles to school with a candy incentive for filling them. On the first day, 22 students used water bottles. The team’s goal is to stop offering candy once the student body forms the habit of using water bottles.

“The seventh-graders worked extremely hard in this competition. They worked well as a team, listening to each other’s ideas as they designed an experiment. We couldn’t be more proud of them and excited for them,” said seventh grade science teacher and faculty advisor Andrea Carothers.

Ten schools were selected for a final round of judging at Disney Synergy Lab. The two winning teams, one high school and one middle school, won a trip to the Floating Laboratory in Long Beach, California. This is the third consecutive year that the Middle School has won this competition.

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Submitted by Dawn Fairchild, NRS Director of Communications

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