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Water Challenge Has Students Thinking Blue

The winners were announced at an awards reception Tuesday night in front of representatives of Supervisor Michael Antonovich, Assemblyman Cameron Smyth, Castaic Lake Water Agency Directors and General Manager Dan Masnada.

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Saugus High took home the first place spot and the $7,000 scholarship prize with their team, the Saugus Droplets.


Kelsey Kotler, Nicole Janossy, Ariana Chedravi, Daniel Leary, and Chris Russell developed a drought-tolerant planter to help save water on the Saugus campus.


The Droplets documented their project in a youtube video and developed an informal brochure that includes water conservation tips highlighting the importance of drought tolerant plants. {mosimage}

“I learned a lot working on the Water Challenge project and didn’t know very much about drought-resistant plants, so I was really interested in the research,” said Kotler.  “At the end of the project when we finally had the drought-resistant plants in the planter on campus, we all stepped back to take a look and it was so rewarding to see all of our hard work come together.”

The six-month project attracted more than 200 students from the Santa Clarita Valley, who proposed 74 projects on water issues.

Second place went to Canyon High’s Chris Margono and Sabrina Amaro for their work on testing water quality and the health effects of plastic additives in vinyl shower curtains.

Three separate teams from West Ranch High rounded out the top five with one team even producing a water wise rap video.

Here are the top five teams and their scholarship winnings:

First Place ($7,000) Saugus High School’s Saugus Droplets Kelsey Kotler, Nicole Janossy, Ariana Chedravi, Daniel Leary and Chris Russell launched their project by meeting with Richard Greene from Green’s Nursery to learn about irrigation and water use in the Valley’s dry climate. The students, who documented their project on YouTube, created an informational brochure that includes water conservation tips and highlights the importance of drought tolerant plants in our semi-arid climate.

Second Place ($4,000)—Students Chris Margono and Sabrina Amaro from Canyon High School tested water quality and health effects of plastic additives in vinyl shower curtains.

Third Place ($3,000)—West Ranch High School students Elizabeth and Josephine Nguyen conducted a science experiment on water quality in local water sources and created a video shown to area elementary school students with lessons about water treatment, the water cycle, pollution and water conservation.

Fourth Place ($1,000)—Students Rasha Howlander and Joyce Kim from West Ranch High School raised water conservation awareness by reaching out to friends and neighbors with surveys and conservation tips.

Fifth Place ($500)—Focusing on global warming, West Ranch High School students Jazmin Chavez, Alyssa Gutierrez, Kori Juan, Jaime Lee and Kristin Soriano researched the potential effects on local water supplies and distributed a brochure to the public about water conservation.  They also produced a rap music video.