The R.M. Central School “Got Sun” Team.  Back row, L to R: Emma, Paige, Killian, Kyle. Front row, L to R: Adam and Willy. Photo by Susan Sobczak.

Got Sun?

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Friday June 03, 2011

Six “bright” 5th graders from the Rick Marcotte Central School are convinced that we do, and are leading a school-wide effort to harness its power to light the school sign. They explain the project and its origins to South Burlington resident Lee Jackson.

Tell me about this exciting project.
Kyle: This project is all about saving the Earth from global warming and pollution from smog by using solar energy. We started out wanting to put solar panels on the school roof. After our meeting with Mr. O’Brian from the facilities department for the school, we decided to start out small by providing the Rick Marcotte Central School sign with a solar powered light. We will be the first school in our district to have solar energy and a light for the sign.

How did you come up with the idea?
Adam: We did a unit on Magnets and Motors with our teacher, Mrs. Thieret. One day in class we watched a movie about smog and how it pollutes the Earth. We all got really into this movie and we thought the smog polluting the Earth was horrible. We all talked about the movie together on “Moodle,” an on-line school-based discussion tool. Then, one student came up with the brilliant idea to put solar panels on our school roof.
Why is this project important?

Paige: Solar panels for our school sign are important because we need a light for our sign, and we want to be Earth-friendly. If we have a solar-powered sign, while we’re working away in class, the solar light will be working away, too, storing the sunshine’s energy in its battery and waiting until night to shine its light. Solar energy saves money in the long run, and helps our earth, too. The solar light will be extremely eco-friendly.

Who are the people involved, and what have you done so far?

Willy: First, we talked on Moodle. Then, we met with our teacher, Mrs. Thieret, and other students. We talked with Mr. O’Brian. Mrs. Luck, principal of Rick Marcotte Central School, helped us get the meeting and talked to us about the project. The 5th grade and all of Rick Marcotte Central school are working together to make this happen.

How are you raising money to pay for the panels?

Killian: We are raising money by having a bake sale at our school. We had it on Tuesday, May, 24, 2011. Our goal was at least $240. We made $200.05 from the bake sale. Our school store will donate the remaining money to the project.

How long have you been working on this?

Emma: We watched the movie at the end of the winter and that’s when we started. We met with Mrs. Luck and Mr. O’Brian in April and May. Mr. O’Brian said that it would be best to put the lights in place in the summer. I think this will be a big benefit to our school.

So, the next time you’re on Market Street, take a minute to notice the bright lights of the school sign, a shining example of what inspiration and resourcefulness can do. And who knows, maybe next summer, you’ll see solar panels on the roof.