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Publicize free water programs

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Local high school students help raise awareness of programs that offer free well testing and bottled water to those who have contaminated drinking water.

The Valley Water Collaborative reached out to local students asking them to create displays that advertise well testing, bottled water and filtration programs offered free of charge to eligible residents. The displays will be used at public events, such as the Turlock Farmers Market and the Stanislaus County Fair, to educate the public.

Turlock High freshman Abraham Wooley presented his team’s poster that features easy-to-read facts about water programs, winning third place and $500 (KRISTINA HACKER/The Journal).

Teams from participating high schools presented their displays for judging Thursday at an event at the Ten Pin Fun Center in Turlock. The winning team from Central Valley High School in Ceres took home a $2,000 prize, followed by Johansen High in Modesto in second place with a $1,000 prize and Turlock High School in third place with a $1,000 prize. $500.

The Central Valley team heard about the contest through their computer graphics professor. When assembling their display, the students said they wanted to highlight the free water testing and the importance of having clean water to drink.

“We wanted the person looking at the screen to connect with it and really feel it rather than just being a flat board. We incorporated elements that you would use in real life, like the 5 gallon jugs, just to show that it’s also kind of personal,” CV student Ammar Salah said.

Thanks to the project, the students learned more about the water problems of the region.

“We’ve heard of droughts, but now that we’ve really looked into the business, we see that many people have contaminated the water. So knowing that really motivated us to pursue the project,” said CV student Gabriel Davila-Sanchez.

The entire Central Valley team consisted of teacher Kari Copley and students Alyssa Amador, Jesus Hernandez, Enrique Lepe, Allison Vang, Davila-Sanchez and Salah.

The Turlock High team consisted of brother and sister duo Aspen and Abraham Wooley, with support from teacher Shadi Safi.

“We wanted to keep it simple and not have too much information about it,” Abraham Wooley said of their display design. “But we also wanted to make it catchy and have enough information for them to understand what it was.”

Johansen High’s second-place team consisted of teacher Rhoda Taylor and students Aracely Martinez, Noemi Flores, Braulio Garcia, Veronica Maldonado, Adriana Villasenor, Briana Zamora and McKenna Taylor.

“The idea for this contest came from trying to find ways to bring more attention to our programs. And so, I think the idea worked because you all had great ideas and displays that we’re going to use. Next time you go to the farmers’ market, you’ll see it all crammed into our little space…I hope people stop asking about it,” said Parry Klassen, executive director of Valley Water Collaborative.