WEST ORANGE, NJ – The annual Environmental Assembly at Roosevelt Middle School on May 27 drove home the serious issues of pollution, deforestation, animal endangerment and more through entertaining student musical performances, dances, songs, and skits.
Seventh and eighth grade science teachers Ken Darcy, Karen Gleason, Tracy Gordon, Kimberly Nguyen, Linda Pallazolo, Martine Pope, Pete Tourian, and Diane Varela worked with students to put together the assembly, which was emceed by the student council.
“We produce 102 tons of garbage in our lifetime. We have a responsibility to take care of our world,” admonished the council.
“Don’t just think about the environment as planet Earth,” said Assistant Principal Marc Lawrence, “think of it as your home, your school, and your room.”
Awards were distributed by teachers for seventh grade students designing bumper stickers and writing poetry about air pollution, while eighth grade students received awards for their bumper stickers and poems on water pollution. First place poetry winners read their works to the crowd, with enthusiastic response.
The emotional highlight of the assembly came as the school dedicated a Double Red Rose Bush to Henry Chang, 5, the son of two West Orange teachers who is battling cancer. Students sang “Fight Song” as the bush was dedicated to Henry. A brief Skype session from the hospital with Henry and his mom, Heather Young, followed, along with many tears.
Songs, skits, and dance performances by the eighth grade students began as they took popular songs and created environmental lyrics to convey their messages.
Parody topics included:
Toxins and light pollution to “Toxic,” by Britney Spears
Coral reefs to “Demons” by Imagine Dragons
Deforestation to “Uptown Funk” by Bruno Mars
Global Warming to “Say It” by Tory Lanez
Oil Spills to “See You Again” by Wiz Kalifa
Endangered Species to “Livin’ on a Prayer” by Bon Jovi
Habitats to “Who Do You Think You Are,” by Katy Perry
A skit based on the classic Monty Python sketch “I Am a Lumberjack” was also included as students cheered wildly for each act.
The assembly concluded with the school singing “We Are the World,” a yearly tradition.
Graduating grade eight students will have the opportunity to study Environmental Science, Honors Environmental Science, AP Environmental Science, and join the “Fight for Green” club at West Orange High School. The “Fight for Green” club will be working with the West Orange Environmental Commission on their projects and helping to educate the community regarding environmental issues. All three middle schools and several elementary schools have environmental clubs.
“The true purpose of this assembly is to increase your knowledge of the issues at hand,” said Principal Lionel Hush. “Our students worked very hard to put this program together, and we do not take our responsibility to our world and our planet lightly.”