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Car show lets Westmont students see advantages of going green

Published: Tuesday, Oct. 22, 2013 11:41 a.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, July 25, 2014 4:51 a.m. CDT
Caption
Westmont Jr. High seventh-grader Johnny Karesh gets behind the wheel of a Nissan Leaf at the school Friday. As part of their science class, the students had the opportunity to ask questions of local car dealers who brought some environmentally friendly vehicles to the school. Mark Busch - mbusch@shawmedia.com
Caption
Westmont Jr. High seventh-grader Johnny Karesh looks under the hood of a Nissan Leaf at the school Friday. As part of their science class, the students had the opportunity to ask questions of local car dealers who brought some environmentally friendly vehicles to the school. Mark Busch - mbusch@shawmedia.com
Caption
Westmont Jr. High seventh-graders Troy Schlicher and Saleena Zakhem hop in the back of one of the cars on display at the school Friday. Mark Busch - mbusch@shawmedia.com

WESTMONT – Westmont Junior High School Jenny Goodell found a way to bring her science unit to life.

The seventh-grade teacher brought a Green Car Show to the school Friday as part of her class’ unit on the atmosphere.

Goodell’s students were placed into groups, each assigned an environment friendly car to research and report on, as well as persuade the teacher into buying the best green car there is.

“The hook is trying to convince me to buy the car while reporting out on how it is good for the environment and atmosphere,” Goodell said.

The car show came together in the middle of the project.

“Since Westmont has a lot of car dealers, I thought I would just put the word out there that the kids are doing this project and see if the dealers would be willing to bring the cars over,” she said.

The show included a Nissan Leaf from Bill Kay Nissan, a Prius from Oakbrook Toyota, a Tesla S from Grant Gerke, and a Chevy Volt from Chris Meyer.

Goodell said she had a great response from the dealerships right away.

“I sent out a letter about two weeks ahead of time explaining the project and the car show,” Goodell said. “I started with Westmont dealers and then found the closest ones that had the cars. Most [dealerships] responded and offered to bring a car.”

Goodell said students have been responding really well to the project.

“This is a big option for these kids. It’s so new and cutting edge. The cars are becoming better and better, more dependable and efficient, I just hope the kids are more open to these cars than our generation,” she said.

Student Saleena Zakhem said of the six cars, the Tesla was deemed the best option.

“I want a Tesla S. Apparently the group said it’s really good and it’s pretty,” Zakhem said.

The students researched how well the cars drove, its miles per gallon, fuel economy and how good it was for the environment, according to the seventh-grader.

“I didn’t know how efficient and good for the environment electric cars were,” Zakhem said. “I just thought fancy people had them, but now these cars, I want to buy some of them.”

Goodell’s project is bringing real life scenarios into the school, according to Principal John Jonak, who said seeing the students excited about learning is what it’s all about.

“It’s exposing our kids to the world,” Jonak said. “We’re bringing vehicles in that they’ve been studying about and they’re learning about alternative fuel sources and then they’re seeing it.”

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