Second and third grade students from school districts throughout Carbon County and the surrounding area recently competed in Envirothon at Carbon County Environmental Education Center.

Out of the 45 teams that competed, nine third grade teams represented Lehighton Area School District – three from Franklin Elementary, three from Shull-David Elementary, two from Mahoning Elementary, and one from East Penn Elementary. Students were selected for their teams based on their science knowledge, personality, participation in class, listening skills, and overall academic achievements.

Six of these nine teams placed in the top 10 – with three of them in the top five. The team from East Penn Elementary was crowned winner of the entire competition. Self-named "Science Masters," the team is made up of team captain Aijah Hill and team members Will Kocher, Dominic Licini, Samantha Miller, and Rachel DeSanto.East Penn Elementary third grade teacher Sherry Snyder served as the team's advisor.

"They truly are an exceptional group of students who will accomplish any goal they set," Snyder said. "I am extremely proud of this group and how hard they worked to get ready for this competition."

She also thanked the Lions Club for sponsoring the Envirothon and "giving the students an exciting day to learn."

Envirothon stresses teamwork, competition, and winning attitudes. Some of the goals of the event are to teach students about how our actions affect our environment, to help students develop an understanding of ecological systems and the connectedness these systems have on all living things, and to help students develop skills needed to become part of the solution to the problems our world faces.

The students accomplished these goals by competing in areas of science such as aquatics, soil, wildlife, forestry, and current events.

"Participation in the Envirothon is extremely important to the Lehighton Area School District – not because it affords us the opportunity to bring home some medals, t-shirts, and a plaque – but because it teaches the students the importance of our environment and how to keep it safe, healthy, and protected," said East Penn Elementary School Principal Gretchen Laviolette,

Upon their return to East Penn Elementary School after the competition, the team was greeted outside by the entire student body. The bus driver supported the victory by honking the horn as they drove up the driveway, while the students and staff welcomed them back with cheers.