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Peekskill Middle School students study climate change
Students at Peekskill Middle School have turned the destruction from superstorm Sandy into a months-long investigation of climate change that they will present at a symposium in Florida next month.
Gathered to practice their 20-minute speech Thursday in a middle school art room, the students spoke of how power outages, downed trees and spoiled food made them think more about why two major storms had hit New York in the past two years.
"The storms and hurricanes -- it was such a big surprise to us. We wanted to help people to be more prepared," said Arianna Hurtado, an eighth-grader.
The members of the school's environmental club tackled the lofty project of researching climate change, creating a public service announcement to help people in their community be more prepared for the next emergency.
"I was out of power for two weeks," eighth-grader Brianna Curry said. "Next time, we'll have a lot of extra batteries and keep food that won't go bad."
The students will travel to Florida next month to present their findings before an audience of hundreds of their peers from across the East Coast at the 19th annual Wheelabrator Technologies Symposium for Environment and Education. The symposium is sponsored by Wheelabrator in the communities where it has operations.
The experience is transformative for both teachers and students, club adviser Elizabeth Damiano said, speaking of last year's trip.
"It kind of blew my mind how they came together to expose people to an environmental problem," Damiano said, noting how the eighth-graders speak confidently while they answer questions in front of a huge audience. "This is an incredible experience."