Montreal

Laval students hope carpooling project could win them $50K

Twin Oaks' Grade 6 students created a carpooling project that could win them $50K in prizes in a Canada-wide contest.

Twin Oaks is the only English elementary school in Quebec to make it to finals of Canada-wide contest

Students at Twin Oaks in Laval say too many parents driving their children to school, clogging up the residential streets in the neighbourhood. (Twin Oaks/Samsung Solve for Tomorrow)

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.

"We actually want people to pay attention, and try carpooling and use buses," says Simona Bruno, a Grade 6 student at Twin Oaks Elementary.
The students are among the top 11 finalists in the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow Challenge.

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.

Laval students in the running to win $50K

6 years ago
Duration 2:58
Twin Oaks' Grade 6 students created a carpooling project that could win them $50K in prizes in a 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.

"If we know we are going to be at school on the same day, we text each other and we'll take turns. Either I'll pick her up, or [Rosalie] will come get me if it's on her way," Reda says.
Rosalie Zegarelli (left) and Marissa Reda now carpool to school to pick up their kids, after Grade 6 students mapped out parents' routes. (CBC)

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.

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