Poaching and pollution and smoking, oh my!

Madalynn von Knorring gives her presentation. Photo by Elise Shire.
Madalynn von Knorring gives her presentation. Photo by Elise Shire.

Lakeville students had a chance to show off their wealth of knowledge on various topics at the school’s fifth-grade Exhibition held June 7.

As part of the International Baccalaureate (IB) program at Lakeville Elementary, fifth-graders are required to participate in this event – a culminating experience and opportunity to exhibit attributes developed during their time in the Primary Years Programme.

“Teamwork and passion and community… That’s what tonight is (meant) to celebrate,” said IB Coordinator Christine Vince. “All the hard work that has gone into tonight has been amazing and . . . what you see tonight is the culmination of all of that. These students have worked so hard, put their heart and soul into this project . . . Tonight is about celebrating our progression and where we are as learners.”

Along with a mentor, students collaborated to identify, investigate and offer solutions to real-life issues or problems, according to Vince.

Animal abuse, poaching, pollution, bullying and smoking were just a few of the major issues tackled by the school’s 73 fifth-graders.

One group focused on bringing awareness to several environmental issues for their project – issues such as air pollution, coral bleaching, deforestation and tornadoes.

The group consisted of Kiira Mason, Nicholas Ayers, Madalynn vonKnorring and Alexander Beaumont.

Mason, who focused her research on deforestation throughout the group project, informed the audience of the unintended consequences that often result from the clear-cutting of forests. Climate change and loss of habitat for native animal and plant species are some of the results.

“Thousands of animals are in the forest. It is their habitat, so when the forests go, they go, too,” she said.

Students were also required to come up with a plan of action. To help combat each of these environmental issues, the group distributed seedlings to family and friends during the event.

“Planting a tree can help (reduce) air pollution by giving out fresh air,” vonKnorring said to the audience. “It can help with coral bleaching since global warming can cause coral bleaching. It helps deforestation because you can plant new trees. Finally, it helps with tornadoes because it gives back the trees that tornadoes have broken down. Now it’s your turn to take action.”

Another group – consisting of Zoey Moore, Jeremy Smith, Maria Coyle, Jaden Anderson and Ethan Crumbley – focused on poverty and hunger for their project.

With an estimated 43.1 million people living in poverty, according to a 2015 report from the U.S. Census Bureau, the students said they had come to realize the importance of giving through their project.

“Poverty has some ups and downs, but it’s still heartbreaking,” said Zoey Moore. “When we can make a difference, even the smallest difference can affect the world.”

Crumbley added, “I see people on the streets sometimes that are homeless and hungry, and so I feel like I should take action and help them.”

For their action project, the group helped pack bags for Oxford’s Blessings in a Backpack, a nonprofit organization that distributes backpacks filled with non-perishable food items to help feed eligible students in need during the school year.


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