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Swimming with the Snakes

TICONDEROGA Picking up dirty diapers can be matter of survival. Will Lawrie, a seventh grade student at Ticonderoga Middle School, learned that lesson first-hand as he and other members of the schools Survival 101 class collected trash along the LaChute River walking trail May 1. Wow, that stinks, Lawrie commented as he placed the discarded diaper into a trash bag. Teacher Frank Fontana, teaching assistant Bridget Graney and 17 students worked their way from Bicentennial Park toward downtown along the trail, raking and picking up bags of trash along the way. This is something the kids decided to do, Fontana said of the clean up project. Students in the class are expected to do youth service projects like this. Survival 101 is a character-based class at Ti Middle School. It teaches personal and community responsibility, cooperation and study skills. It also addresses issues such as bullying and respect. In the past students in Survival 101 have held a pet food drive for Angel Connection, a bake sale for Head Start, taught fifth graders how to snowshoe and worked with third graders learning kick ball. We try to do things in school and out of school, individually and as a group, Fontana said. The lessons arent lost on students. I think its an important class, said student Megan Moser. It teaches us we should really try and take care of our town and the people in it. We want to help the community. Student E.J. Kearns was dismayed at all the trash along the LaChute River trail. People shouldnt be dumping garbage here, he said. Im glad to help, but people shouldnt do this. The clean up project was truly a community service, not an excuse to get out of school. In fact, students only worked through their normal Survival 101 class time and gave up their lunch period, working a little more than an hour. Its their project, Fontana said. They made all the arrangements; they did everything. Students arranged the transportation to and from school, contacted Ticonderoga Supervisor Bob Dedrick for permission to work on the town property, designed parental permission slips, notified school officials of their plans and made alternative lunch plans.

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