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Kelly Mill Elementary students finalists in national video contest

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Watch the video at And vote at


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Also during its meeting Thursday, the Forsyth County Board of Education approved:

* Darla Light of District 1 to remain chairwoman.

* Kristin Morrissey of District 2 to remain vice chair and legislative liaison.

* Nancy Roche of District 5 as representative for the attendance protocol committee.

* Tom Cleveland of District 3 as representative for the Drug Awareness Council.

WEST FORSYTH — Forsyth County Board of Education members were treated to a “fact battle” during their monthly meeting Thursday, as they learned about trees and cheered on two elementary school students.

Peyton Densmore and Delaney DePaolo, both fourth-graders at Kelly Mill Elementary, recently found out they made it to the top 10 of a national video contest and presented that video to the board in the hopes they will vote for it.

Anyone can vote in the Trees Rock video contest for the girls’ film once a day until Feb. 7. The grand-prize winner will receive $10,000 to use toward a sustainable project, such as tree plantings, outdoor classrooms, playgrounds, athletic fields, gardens and greenhouses.

The aim of the contest was for children to create videos up to three minutes long on the importance of trees — to themselves, their school and their community.

“It is crucial that we teach our leaders of tomorrow about environmental awareness and conservation. Being a new school, we haven’t been able to fully address and establish our environmental aspirations,” said Michael Burbrink, a school counselor at Kelly Mill.

“With the $10,000 we hope to further create eco-friendly school initiatives and student-driven projects, from planting, growing and harvesting fruit trees that will further enhance students’ authentic learning to providing valuable hands-on experiences such as aquaponics.”

However, Kelly Mill’s students are no strangers to environmental education.

Students participate in the Teracycle recycling program, gardening and composting and have been awarded a Forsyth County green school gold level award because of their commitment to such efforts.

The girls, coached by Burbrink and Stephanie Sumner, their teacher, created a Rocky-esque boxing match, where they gave each other a verbal smack-down in the battle of tree facts.

One shouts at the other, “I bet you didn’t know that trees prevent erosion,” and the other girl is taken to the ground.

Students were encouraged to be as creative as possible in their videos, whether through a poem, play, speech, song or dance.

Judges examined entries from around the country and narrowed them down to the 10 best in third through sixth grades based on most compelling video relative to theme, clarity of the message and creativity.

When the girls learned they were named finalists, they said, “We hope people will not just say, ‘that was so funny,’ but really think about the message about trees. Hopefully it inspires others to create their own videos and projects about saving trees.”

Anyone can vote in the contest, which is put on by Scotties tissue brand, at

Winners will be announced Feb. 15.