Laval students hope carpooling project could win them $50K
Twin Oaks is the only English elementary school in Quebec to make it to finals of Canada-wide contest
Grade 6 students at Twin Oaks Elementary in Laval have already won $20,000 worth of technology for trying to make the planet cleaner by encouraging their parents to carpool.
Now they're the only English elementary school from Quebec that is in the running to win $50,000 in prizes.
But for students like Simona Bruno, it's about more than the competition.
"We actually want people to pay attention, and try carpooling, and use buses," she said.
Students like Bruno say there's been a persistent problem at the school: too many parents drive their children there, clogging up the residential streets in the neighbourhood.
"We were concerned with all the idling cars and the gases they're emitting into our environment," Bruno says in a video the students created for the Canada-wide contest.
Jennifer Butler, a Grade 6 teacher, said her students wanted to teach the community an important lesson about the environment.
"They really recognized something that we didn't see as a problem growing up when we were growing up, and they tried to find a way to solve it," Butler said.
Students surveyed the parents who were dropping off and picking up their kids.
They took down their address, year, make and model of the car.
Students then put that information on a map to see if they could convince parents who live close to each other to carpool instead.
"In effect, we have become carpooling matchmakers," the video says.
One of the carpool couples is Rosalie Zegarelli and Marissa Reda.
Student Renée-Maria Makdessi and her friends created a pamphlet to distribute to parents to inform them of their options.
"They were quite surprised that we came up with the idea of a pamphlet and all the sections we put in it."
The class also visited other students in the school to inform of the benefits of carpooling and the harmful effects of greenhouse gas emissions.
The students' video is featured on Samsung's contest page, along with videos from the other 10 finalists.
People have until April 18 to vote for their favourite project. The top two schools, which will each receive $50,000 worth of technology, will be announced at the end of the month.