They’ve cleaned their campus, recycled old newspapers and other junk, visited nursing homes, made quilts for babies with AIDS and collected clothing for the homeless.
On Tuesday morning, such virtue earned 1,000 students at George L. White Elementary School special words of praise and support from Vice President Al Gore during a brief conference call broadcast throughout the school.
“I’m very impressed with all the activities you have been doing,” the vice president told the students, noting that they are setting a “terrific example” for all schoolchildren.
And although Gore had to end the conference call before the children could ask him questions--it seems his boss, President Clinton, was waiting to talk to him--he added:
“It is one of the most profound sources of encouragement possible to realize that young people are truly motivated to help lead our country toward a different way of reacting to the environment. I know of no school that has come up with a better or more imaginative program than George White Elementary School.”
Students were thrilled.
“We felt very proud our school got chosen . . . and that the vice president called our school to honor our efforts,” said 10-year-old Malika Anand.
Added 10-year-old Justin Loresco: “More schools will want to get involved because of what Vice President Al Gore said about our school and our recycling program.”
The teleconference, broadcast live from the campus library to all classrooms via closed-circuit television, kicked off the school’s year-old “Kids in Community Service” program, a voluntary effort to foster pride, responsibility and self-esteem.
As part of the program, students will clean up Salt Creek Beach on Saturday.
Fifth-graders had prepared questions for the vice president, but he had to cut the teleconference short to receive a call from the President, Principal David Gerhard said.
Parent Gloria Watson helped spark the teleconference last week when she called Gore’s Washington office to see if he might be able to visit during his swing through Southern California on Tuesday.
“It’s great the vice president of the United States is truly aware of our school and took time to recognize the kids for the great things they’re doing in the community,” Gerhard said.
Out of the Mouths of Babes
A teleconference Tuesday between Vice President Al Gore and fifth-graders at George L. White Elementary School in Laguna Niguel was interrupted by a phone call from President Clinton. Some of the questions the students had wanted to ask:
* What steps are you going to take as vice president to preserve California’s natural resources?
--Sara Ludovise, 10 * When you were little, did you go to the beach with your class and clean it up?
--Jourdan Whistler, 10 * On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate our country on environmental cleanliness and why would you give it that rating?
--Justin Loresco, 10 * I am very interested in politics and, in fact, was vice president of our school last year and I am thinking of becoming vice president of our country someday. Do you have any pointers on how I can achieve my goal of being vice president?
--Evan Molina, 10 * Do you like the way people in the United States take care of the environment today?
--Sean Griffin, 11 * On Yom Kippur, everyone at my temple donates food for the needy. On Thanksgiving and Christmas, people donate toys, clothes and food for the needy. But during the rest of the year, people forget about the needy. Why don’t we have one week in May or June called “Give From Your Heart Week” where everyone in the whole country works together to collect toys, clothes and food to make the rest of the year better for those who need it?
--Kirsten Saladow, 10 * Who or what made you interested in the environment and motivated you to try and save it?
--Malika Anand, 10 * How do you think more people around the world will get involved with cleaning up the environment in the year 1994?
--Tracey Nicholson, 10 * What do you think should be done about all the pollution, crime and poverty in our environment? Have you ever gone jogging with the President? As vice president, do you help the President make decisions on important political issues? What is your plan to save the endangered bald eagle?
--Becca Potts, 11