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Environmental Issues

LOUD little voices

October 11, 2010
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When I was nine years old, my teacher taught us to use our “indoor voices” by asking us to take our hands and place them just a few inches from our mouths.

“This is as far as your voice should reach,” she’d explain as we went over the rules for an upcoming museum visit. “Your indoor voice can only go out four inches.”

If Mrs. Bach is still around and teaching, I hope she’s not in Aurora, CO. That’s where a fourth-grade class at Indian Ridge Elementary completed a project that we can only hope will be talked about loud and proud. These youths decided to take action against at-home carwashing by encouraging professional carwash services in their community.

As elementary school projects go, this one was a doozy. Not content with simply creating some bookmarks or dioramas for their cause, this group wrote to their state legislators to ask for an official day to recognize commercial carwashes (imagine that — your very own day!), and also reached out to the CEO of Subaru to suggest the company reconsider a commercial in which a couple washes a car in the driveway.

“Don’t wash our future down the drain!” was the slogan and project name, and the class designed educational pamphlets to further promote their cause and boost a portfolio they created for Project Citizen, a national contest for schoolchildren that encourages them to “identify and research a problem in their community, evaluate alternative policies, and present their proposed public policy and an action plan.”

The youngsters won their state contest and competed in the national program hosted this July in Louisville, KY, where they were awarded Superior Recognition.

The fourth graders aren’t the only ones carrying the banner for commercial carwashes; a group of junior high students in Lake Oswego, OR, have also taken up the cause. These aspiring young actors got together with their city’s water quality program coordinator to film a humorous and educational YouTube short that explains the dangers of at-home carwashing.

If you’d like to check out the video, visit Be sure to leave a comment showing your support. And if you’d like to commend those fine fourth graders for their hard work and passion for the commercial carwash industry, you can write to Principal Dee Bench at I know I will!

Kate Carr, Editor in Chief

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