Chilliwack secondary students look to score big at Envirothon

Chilliwack secondary will again be competing at the national Envirothon science competition, being held in Pennsylvania this summer.

Chilliwack secondary’s Envirothon team is made up of not your average type of students.

These kids don’t choose friends over studying; they’re not classroom clock watchers; and they’re not the type to count down the days to summer.

Quite the opposite.

This group of five is more about adding onto to their knowledge workload than decreasing it.

For five months Grade 12 student Zac Greenwood, along with Grade 11 students Joel Goshulak, Priya Nand, Tiffany Schulz, and Grade 10 student Jessica Layton have been studying everything they can on Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania in preparation for this year’s Canon Envirothon competition – the largest North American high school environmental education competition around.

And they’re doing it on top of their regular high school studies, many of which include advanced placement courses.

“Basically I’ve destroyed all my free time,” said Goshulak.

They’ve cut out social time, extra-curricular activities, loaded up on caffeine, spent most nights studying into the wee hours, and some have even opted out of sleep altogether.

“It’s a lot of pressure, but I think we’re kind of used to pressure,” said Schulz.

And if they win, it’ll be worth it.

Each winning participant is awarded $5,000.

“It’s a good motivator … scholarship money, you know,” said Layton.

The Canon Envirothon competition has more than 500,000 students throughout Canada and the United States competing locally and regionally for a spot at the international competition, which features 50 of the top teams in North America.

It’s a contest that goes beyond textbooks and the classroom and has students learning outside, working with industry professionals, and performing a variety of field studies.

The young competitors learn about a variety of soil structures, aquatic ecosystems, forestry species, as well as a current environmental issue affecting the ecosystem.

Chilliwack’s team has progressively climbed the standings in the last few years; last year placing 21st overall, and first in the oral presentation – just 30 points from breaking the top 10.

This year’s group has its eyes on the win.

“We’re aiming for the big win,” said Greenwood, who is the only returning member from last year’s team, and who would like for his high school career to end on the upper eschelon of environmental expertise.

The competition runs from July 22 to 27. At a cost of $1,500 per student, fundraising is necessary.

The CSS Envirothon team will be selling hot dogs outside PriceSmart on Saturday, June 23 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Anyone interested in donating to the efforts, can contact the school at 604-795-7295.

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