FALMOUTH — Jennifer Merrifield’s fourth-grade class at Plummer-Motz School is in the home stretch, heading for the finish line.

At stake: a $150,000 hybrid school bus and the title of “America’s Greenest School.”

The class, which is trying to show how easy it is to go green, entered a video explaining how to cut back on water, electricity and fuel usage in the “America’s Greenest School” competition on the Internet.

Organizers of the competition, sponsored by school bus manufacturer IC Bus, picked the 10 best videos out of more than 500 submitted and posted them at americasgreenestschool.com, where the public can vote. The winner gets the bus and up to $175,000 in additional prizes.

Merrifield’s class was in second place behind a school in Kentucky when the online tally was hidden to build the suspense in the final week voting. People can vote once a day for their favorite video through Friday, April 2.

“It was really fun,” said Sophie Baker, 9, who helped make the video. She said she now takes three-minute showers in the morning to help conserve water and electricity. Twisting a braided pig-tail in her hand, she admitted with a disapproving shake of her head, that her older sister still takes longer, five-minute showers.

“I got an e-mail about it from (children’s book publisher) Scholastic. I’d never made a video before, but I’m always looking for projects for the kids,” Merrifield said. She said several other teachers helped her prepare and edit the video before she sent it out to the competition.

Grace Dimick, 10, who also helped make the video, said she and her family have fixed leaking faucets and now make sure sinks are completely turned off after they do dishes or wash their hands.

“It’s simple to be green. It doesn’t have to cost much,” she said.

The class started a green team, complete with matching green T-shirts and a large “green idea lightbulb” made out of paper machet hanging in their classroom.

While the class might be trailing the much-larger Kentucky school in votes, the students don’t seem phased by the prospect of not winning the contest.

“We’ve already won,” said 10-year-old Emmitt Zinn. “Just getting into the top 10 from 500 entries is really great. It’s not all about winning.”

Sophie Baker echoed Zinn’s sentiment and considered that they might not win the bus.

“Even if we get it, or someone else gets it, it’s still helping the environment,” she said. “The Earth will still be more green.”

Emily Parkhurst can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or [email protected]

Sidebar Elements

Jack Walker, 11, turns off the lights as he leaves Jennifer Merrifield’s classroom at the Plummer-Motz School in Falmouth. A class video about going green is in the top 10 in an Internet contest to find “America’s Greenest School.”

Katie Stimson, 9, Luke Bodwell, 10, and Eli Friedman, 9, sip from their reusable water bottles. Students in Jennifer Merrifield’s fourth-grade class at Plummer-Motz School in Falmouth were selected as top 10 finalists in the “America’s Greenest School” competition.

filed under: