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Students bound for Los Angeles
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A little bit of Covington will be in Los Angeles this June.


Middle school students at the Montessori School of Covington earned a spot in the national level of Project Citizen, a program encouraging students to be civic-minded.

The project won the state showcase last week and was judged "superlative." It is being sent to the national level of competition to represent the state of Georgia for the June 10 competition.

The project, entitled "Bottle Deposits: Reducing Georgia Litter," was the product of the students' research on problems present in Newton County.

"As a homework assignment, we had to find three community issues in Newton County," said Claire Vinson, a student who worked on the project. "Afterward, we got together as a group to discuss the biggest problem."

Upon deciding to address litter, the students surveyed members of the Newton County community, collected data, spoke with experts and determined ways to combat the problem.

"Since the students pick the topics, they really go for it," said Sara Vinson, lead middle school teacher. "As a teacher, you cannot say what to do. It really becomes the students' project."

The students decided to work with bottle deposits, a program allowing consumers of bottled products to recycle them for money back.

"We found that it would be hard to implement because of the Coca-Cola headquarters being in Atlanta," said Mariam Goreish, another student who worked on the project.

Despite the potential hardships implementation would face, the judges credited the students for the work that they put into the project.

"We did not think it would win because legislation has failed to pass in the past," Claire Vinson said.

The students created a policy, a plan of action and, at the end of the project, a reflection on everything they learned through their work.

"In their essays they did not only talk about what they have done, but also how they have learned to be functional members of society," said Mary Stakes, the state coordinator for Project Citizen.