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Morgan County: Youth teaching youth

We thank Machell Holbrook and Jesse Clinger for submitting the following articles about an exciting mentoring project in Morgan County!

Morgan County water quality lesson

Morgan County High sophomore Jesse Clinger taught fifth graders how to test water quality

The Youth Teaching the Youth in Morgan County Kentucky
By: Machell Holbrook, East Kentucky GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs), Morehead State University

Although Morgan County High School students Jesse Clinger and Halley Wilson, are only sophomores, they already know the importance of educating the youth about the adverse effects of pollution to our waterways and streams. Having participated in an activity that allowed them to test for impurities in streams during the summer, Jesse and Halley, wanted to share what they learned with the youth in their hometown of West Liberty, KY. Jesse and Halley are participants of the UK Robinson Scholars Leadership Pool and spent a week during the summer with the UK Robinson Scholars Program learning about the importance of keeping our waterways clean. Taking what they learned during the summer, along with a refresher from PRIDE representative, Jennifer Johnson, Jesse and Halley visited Mrs. Day’s fifth grade class at Morgan Central Elementary. During the first visit with the students, Jesse and Halley provided general information about the dangers of polluting our streams as they read a short story entitled, Freddie the Fish. As Halley read the story, Jesse emphasized the dangers of polluting our streams by drawing the effects each pollutant mentioned in the book has on stream life.

During the second visit Mrs. Day’s students additional students were included. All the fifth grade class participated in the second day’s activities. Students helped collect water from a local stream running in front of their school and tested the water for oxygen levels, PH, etc. The students were pleased to learn the stream tested within the acceptable range leaving them to declare the stream was safe for fish and other stream life.

After the two lessons, the fifth grade students were asked to design a t-shirt logo to emphasize the importance of protecting the quality of our streams and waterways. Mrs. Day was very please with the PRIDE activities led by Jesse and Halley and said, “What a wonderful experience to see our 5th graders learning from older students that they look up to. Haley and Jesse are both role models for our younger students, and I consider it an honor for them to be teaching our students about the importance of keeping our water clean.”

The Youth is the Future
By: Jesse Clinger, Sophomore, Morgan County High School

This fall, Halley Wilson and I, two sophomores from Morgan County High School who are currently participating in the Robinson Scholar program, spoke to elementary students at Morgan Central about the importance of water quality. We thought it was essential for us to meet with the youth in our county because they are the ones who will determine the future.

During our first visit, we made sure that we talked about how important water quality was and listed ways that they could take care of the problem. We visited the students on two different occasions. On the first day we gave the students a brief introduction to water quality and the importance of water to us. On the second day we took them out to a stream where they collected water and brought it back into the school to be analyzed using water testing kits. During our first visit, we read a story called “Freddy the Fish.” It was the life of Freddy as he went through his watershed and all the hardships he met while on his way downstream. He encountered pollution from trash and gas and oil from the roadways. The kids enjoyed the story and were very interested in what we had to say. At the beginning of the first class we asked the students if they knew what a watershed was. No one raised their hands. Then at the end of the class we asked the students to raise their hands if they knew what a watershed was and everyone was eager to answer, raised their hands, and quoted word for word the definition that was given at the beginning of class for the term watershed.

The second day we went over to the school all the kids were excited and ready to learn about how water quality was tested. We had them collect water from a local stream near their school and bring it back and took the samples through multiple tests to see if the water’s quality was good or bad. Turns out the quality of the water was great and the living conditions for animals were fantastic. The students’ teacher told us how eager they were for us to come back and finish our lesson on water quality.

We gave the students helpful hints on things they could do to make their watershed around their house better for both themselves and the animals that live in it. We encouraged them to talk to their parents about water quality and how important it is for us as well as the animals living in and around the water. Halley and I would like to thank Mrs. Johnson of PRIDE for coming and supplying us with the water testing kits we needed for our project with the students at Morgan Central Elementary.

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