Fifth-graders from Clinton school honored at ECO-Meet


By Barb Arland-Fye

CLINTON – A team of fifth-graders from Prince of Peace Academy and College Preparatory earned top honors in the 24th annual Mississippi River ECO-Meet.

Gold Team members Caitlyn Jacobs, Aedan Marlowe, Dyllan Sparks, Tara Ruth and alternate Tim Dickherber received first place in team competition among six area schools. Ten teams competed. Prince of Peace fielded a second team, the Blue Team, which consisted of Alex Hessing, Alex Foster, Miranda Schnier, Devin Bilek and alternate Trevor Dickherber. The Blue Team finished sixth.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Thompson Park Rangers sponsor the annual event, which strives to promote better use of natural and cultural resources. Students received informational packets about Midwest prairies, Native Americans, forests and water safety which they studied together after school for about 1-1/2 hours each week for five weeks leading up to the May 7 ECO-Meet.

 “It was a huge commitment on their part,” said their teacher, Allison Schultz. “These were already active students.” But she, and the students, thought it was a worthwhile activity. “Anytime you can make a connection to science, I think it just reinforces it,” Schultz added.


Two parent volunteers coached the teams: Gerilyn Jacobs and Dana Sparks, each of whom had a child on the winning team. Even though the Blue Team didn’t earn the top award, Jacobs said “we impressed on them (both groups of students) that it was a team effort” and that everyone who participated from Prince of Peace deserved credit for the school’s success in the Eco-Meet.

The event was supposed to take place at the Thomson Causeway in Thomson, Ill., but due to rain the event moved to the West Carroll Intermediate School in Thomson.

Contestants listened to four presentations — Water Safety … Is No Accident; Native Americans of the Mississippi; Forests are More than Just Trees; and Prairies of the Midwest — and then completed a written test on each one.

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