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Earth Day event held at LaFollette Middle School

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By Charlotte Underwood

What do solar powered hotdog cookers, exploding sodas and apple batteries all have in common?

Each one represents a different kind of energy and could be found at this year’s Earth Day event at LaFollette Middle School Friday.

The event, hosted by the 21st Century After School students, was a combination of science and just plain fun, according to UT Extension Program Assistant Joyce Soltesz. Soltesz, along with her students were the organizers of the event. Over 20 students participated in the program. Exhibits involved wind energy, solar energy, water and even static energy. Each display was centered on making learning fun, while teaching energy conservation tactics as well.

Middle school students along with the public participated in boat races, mini cannon shots, solar robot races, balloon races and other activities as well,” Soltesz said.

The children were very receptive to learning from the other students because of the atmosphere that was created that day, she said.

“If people have fun while they are learning something, then they are that much more likely to remember what they have learned,” Soltesz said.

Ninth-grader Emily Parsons agreed with Soltesz. Parsons is a mentor for the middle school students involved with the 21st Century program.

“I really feel that the program is for a good cause; I was in the program last year and it really helped me a lot,” Parsons said. Parsons, along with other high school mentors, participate in the program during after school hours.

“The kids did very well and they enjoyed it too,” Soltesz said.