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In front of their makeshift cardboard "house" are Meyer Middle School students, from left to right, Ela Engen, Kate Kraemer, Lindsey Squire and Alyssa Dunn. Representing less fortunate children inside the structure are Hannah Furlong, right, and Emily Gabriel. The girls chose to develop a means to assist and make more aware the plight of less fortunate and homeless children as the focus of their "Refresh the World" project displayed at the school last week. The project was also voted as the best one in i...

They seek to 'Refresh the World'

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They seek to 'Refresh the World'
River Falls Wisconsin 2815 Prairie Drive / P.O. Box 25 54022

Taking a cue from a national cola company promotion, 8 Gold House teachers at Meyer Middle School gave their students the task of picking a local, national or international concern and then develop a presentation on how they'd improve their chosen issue -- all for the benefit of others.

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Students were asked to "Refresh the World," as the name of the project implies.

MMS teacher Toni Velure explained: "All the 8 Gold students worked in groups. They picked out a topic that they felt would refresh the community, neighborhood or world.

"Then they planned a field trip to visit someone or to do something that would help with their project."

Last week four classrooms, headed by teachers Stephanie Reid, Paul Meyer, Rich Hudacek and Velure, were transformed into galleries where photo-filled and informative display boards, PowerPoint presentations, appropriate samples, promotional stickers and handouts, related equipment and more could be viewed and voted upon by fellow students, other teachers and visitors. Viewers and visitors voted for their favorite in each room resulting in four winning presentations. (See a related list of winners on or near this page of the Journal.)

"Those students will present their final projects on June 4 in the auditorium," Velure said.

Velure referred to the presentations as "...a mix between what the Festival of Nations and Invention Convention projects are like."

Teacher Paul Meyer was impressed by the students' approaches to the projects as well as their results.

"What I was most proud of in this project was how they utilized their field trip to 1) enhance their project and 2) to perform a service to their community. This was the first time a group was ever allowed to go on self-guided and individualized field trip experiences and I think they handled it extremely well."

Velure said about the projects: "What impressed me the most about the Refresh the World projects was the variety and passion that each group had for their project. It truly was something they thought would make the world a better place to live."

Some of the creative presentations were about: Establishing a youth boxing center for troubled teens; creating outdoor classrooms; expanding the city's Parks and Recreation Department's options; re-opening a teen center in River Falls; opening a humane society or starting a rescue program to shelter homeless animals; re-foresting land that's been cleared by lumber companies; saving the North Pole's polar bear population; and more.

A few of the groups dressed alike, sporting colorful T-shirts with supportive slogans, like "Plant a Tree to Save You and Me," or an appliquéd photo of a baby polar bear with the words "Save Me!" printed beneath the photo.

A gallery of photos and more information can be viewed on the Journal's website, www.riverfallsjournal.com, later in the week.

'Refresh the World' has a winner

These are the finalists and overall winner voted for in the Meyer Middle School "Refresh the World" competition, held at the school last week. Students in the 8 Gold House were asked to seek ways others could benefit by addressing and presenting concerns and issues on local, national or international bases. Four classrooms produced these winners after votes were gathered from fellow students, other teachers and classroom visitors.

Band Program Benefit Concert: Presented by Colton Jones, Jerrett Feyereisen, TJ Lee and Grant Morrison

Raising Awareness of the Homeless: Presented by Lindsey Squire, Alyssa Dunn, Hannah Furlong, Kate Kraemer, Emily Gabriel and Ela Engen

Local Bike Trail: Presented by Aleda McMonagle, Miranda McAleavey, Kyle Duex and Ace Sauerwein

River Falls' Green Day: Presented by Danie Weishaar, Lauren Simenson and Dana Coggio

The Band Program Benefit Concert was the overall winner of the four when students in the 8 Gold House voted for their favorite. Jones, Feyereisen, Lee and Morrison received $80 in River Falls Chamber of Commerce dollars.

The other finalists received $5 of the chamber dollars.

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