For Ivan Lorenzo, a student in the Saroyan Elementary Robotics team, knowing that students at his school would be able to have access to filtered drinking water on campus was remarkable accomplishment.
“Amazing. It’s very nice to see how one little thing impact makes it big,” said the 12 year old who is in seven grade and who is in his second year in robotics. “I am proud of that work, it is really good.”
But more amazing was that Lorenzo and his team’s hard work not only made a difference this school year at Saroyan Elementary but at the entire school district level.
The eight students and their coach Vickie Reed applied for a grant from Kaiser Permanente Fresno so the Central Unified School District could purchase enough water-filling stations for every school in the district.
“I am extremely proud. There was a lot of hard work, they did a lot of good research,” said Reed. “They just did a lot of work in trying to find out the benefits so that we can get this grant through,”
The students received a nearly $55,000 grant from Kaiser Permanente Fresno after they researched the benefits of daily water consumption as part of a “hydrodynamics” theme.
According to Reed, her students spoke to consultants from the California Department of Education, the Alliance for Healthier Generations and the Center for Disease Control as part of their research.
“We are so proud of these students for recognizing the importance of drinking water throughout the school day and making sure their peers are staying healthy,” said Casey Gray, chief of pediatrics at Kaiser Permanente Fresno. “Drinking water helps students focus in the classroom and perform their best.”
According to Kaiser officials, the robotics team initially applied for the $54,737 grant with the hopes of installing water-filling stations at 14 schools.
The Central Unified Facilities team maximized the grant funds and was able to purchase enough water-filling stations to be installed at 23 school sites and 3 district sites.
“I was super excited because our intention was to get them in all our elementary schools,” said Reed. “Since we are an elementary school our hope was that they would grant it for the 14 elementary, but then we found out they maximize the grant and got them in all our school and our district office sites, we were supper excited.”
“It’s so important. They really understood the value of having clean safe drinking water available for all our students and staff,” Reed said.