Students praised for driving home anti-idling message
Caledon, like several other municipalities, has passed a bylaw against the excessive idling of vehicles. Passed last year, the bylaw prohibits unnecessary idling for more than two minutes. It also established idle-free zones around certain facilities, including all schools in Caledon. In keeping, the Town earlier this year decided to raise awareness of the new rules by inviting teachers and students at the local schools to submit short “idle-free” videos. Town officials were very pleased with the response, and that was recognized in April before Town council, when Public Works Director David Loveridge presented the two videos that were judged the best. There were nine videos that were presented; five from SouthFields Village Public School, two from Macville Public School, and one each from St. John the Baptist Elementary School and Belfountain Public School. Loveridge said the videos were evaluated on creativity and originality, along with the use of campaign materials, engagement of parents and the public, as well as clarity of message and potential for impact. “The message starts with the kids,” Loveridge told councillors. There was a tie for first place, between a group of Grade 5 students at St. John the Baptist and youngsters in Grade 2 French immersion at SouthFields Village. Mayor Allan Thompson made a point of getting to both schools recently, armed with pizza lunches for the top video makers. “We’re quite proud of you,” he told the students at St. John the Baptist. “That’s pretty cool.” “It doesn’t matter how big or how small you are,” he told the kids at SouthFields Village. “It doesn’t work unless you can inspire people to work with it.” “This is a lesson that you’ve learned as a young person,” he added. “You have to work with others to inspire to make things change.” The winning entry from SouthFields was essentially a Rap video. “Listen up! Stop passing gas! Smarten up! Think of our class!” was one of the refrains. It also showed a sign reading “No Idling. Young lungs at work.” Teacher Danielle Denreyer said the idea was to showcase the need, as well as the fact the project tied in with the science curriculum. “I was blessed with two classes who have a fantastic sense of humour,” she remarked, adding the kids wrote the bulk of the dialogue themselves.
“I helped them with the rhyming words,” she said. The video took about a month to produce.
“I had to learn everything from the beginning, because I never made a movie in my life,” she said. She added the project has inspired the students to spread the anti-idling message to who ever they encounter; “cab drivers, their parents, people in the street.” The video created by the students at St. John the Baptist involved youngsters picketing outside the school, shouting slogans of the “automobile pollution affects children more quickly” variety. It also made the point that idling wastes gas
and money. Teacher Betty deGroot said it was the work of the school’s Eco Team, with 13 people involved, including a parent volunteer. Tiana Ramjitsingh was the videographer on the project, holding the camera, and she said she was happy to be on that side of things. “I don’t like
being in the centre of attention,” she said. And like the others involved with the project, she believes in the fight against idling. “I just think it’s horrible,” she said. “It pollutes oxygen.” “It affects us more than it does adults,” Vanessa Fantin added. “It’s gross.” She added the smell of an idling engine can get in through open windows, and once the windows are closed, it’s hard to get rid of the odour. “I felt the idling was a very important thing,” Daniela Roccatani said. “We would make this world a better place if we don’t idle,” “I wanted to help stop idling,” Nicole Gal said. “It’s terrible and it pollutes air.” “I want to help out in the community,” Sophia DaRosa commented. “I hate when people waste their money and gas by idling.” The video took two takes to produce, deGroot said. The first take was shot indoors because it was so cold outside. They were able to get outside for the second session. “We still had bad weather, but it wasn’t too, too bad,” she said. “You have a really good message,” Thompson told the students. “You can make a difference if you’ve got an inspiring message.” Thompson also said both videos are being shown prior to feature presentations at the movie theatres in both Bolton and Orangeville.
Written by Bill Rea