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NHS students put science into action
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Summer is typically when students take a break from their studies, but some in Newton County’s 21st Century Community Learning Centers program are at work researching and developing a water filtration device to be used in other countries.

Newton High School epidemiology teacher Evern Williams said his students in the program have been studying waterborne illnesses and researching ways to eliminate them. One solution they’ve found involves using water filtration devices to clean water for drinking.

Students created their devices through trial and error after researching different filtration systems developed by college students. The students’ systems have several layers of filters made with rocks, pebbles, and charcoal, all natural filters.

"It’s a slow process, but it does reduce the number of microorganisms and the arsenic levels," Williams said.

The NHS students’ devices will be sent to The Clinton Global Initiative, a program developed in 2005 by former President Bill Clinton to seek innovative solutions to pressing world problems. Williams said CGI will then send the devices to Third World countries to show people how to filter their own water using natural resources around them.

"A lot of illnesses come because they are not drinking a lot of healthy water," Williams said.

Newton High School is one of several 21st Century Community Learning Centers in Newton County. The county’s school system received a grant that provides federal funds to establish or expand community learning centers that operate during out-of-school hours.

Students in the program participate in academic enrichment and tutorial services. The program is for students who need after-school services or remediation.

NHS guidance counselor Francene Breakfield said in addition to studies in Williams’ class, students in the CCLC program have also participated in art classes (where they made dream boards depicting their future goals), studied gardening and attended lectures and other classes.