KRCR News | California Water Service presents award to Chico students
April 19, 2017 - 11:48am

Written by Taylor Torregano on April 5, 2017

Read the original story online here.


CHICO, Calif. - For two out of three years, Chico elementary schools have won a statewide challenge put on by the California Water Service.
 
The competition aims to teach the kids about water conservation and quality. This year, a fifth grade class at Sierra View Elementary School won first place.
 
"This is big news, real big news," said Martin Kropelnicki, Cal Water President and Chief Executive Officer, as he presented Emily Yakimoto's class with the grand prize. 
 
All 28 students get a free two day trip to NatureBridge science camp in Malibu and their classroom gets a $3,500 grant.
 
"We're just all so happy and so grateful," said Emily Yakimoto, the fifth graders' teacher. 
 
The California Water Service challenged fourth through sixth graders in all 24 of its districts to create a project focusing on caring for water.
 
"A project where they have to kind of explore, educate themselves, propose solutions to a possible problem, that type of thing," explained Pete Bonacich, District Manager for Cal Water in Chico.
 
Out of 25 submissions across the state, Yakimoto's class took the cake.
 
"They put together a project where they tested water from throughout the school, all the drinking faucets, sinks, things of that nature, had the water tested and then came up with their conclusion," said Bonacich.
 
"The water is perfectly clean," said Yakimoto of the results. "We found no lead in any of our test sites, no volatile organic compounds."
 
She said they did find trace amounts of copper, but the government's safe limit is 1,300 micrograms per liter. "Our highest number was 74 micrograms per liter," said Yakimoto.
 
The students spent nearly a month of recess working on this project, so they were excited. Their teacher was overwhelmed and proud. 
 
"They'd work at home, they'd work during their free time, researching it and they enjoyed it and we talked about learning for learning sake, but for them to be recognized too is really amazing," said Yakimoto.
 
In 2015, a fifth grade class at Shasta Elementary in Chico took home the grand prize. Last year, it went to a group of sixth graders in Bakersfield.