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Austen O'Reilly, BP oil, International Baccalaureate, Jada Wilson, Marcus Higgins, Mike O'Reilly, Sharp Park Academy

>Sharp Park Academy students deliver presentations on hot topics as part of International Baccalaureate requirement


>Mike O’Reilly should not be surprised if his daughter snatches a cookie out of his hand and replaces it with an apple.

That’s just the kind of educated, informed student he’s come to expect of Austen because of her enrollment at Sharp Park Academy.

Austen O’Reilly was one of four fifth-grade students giving a presentation on childhood obesity Tuesday night as part of the first Fifth Grade Exhibition at the International Baccalaureate school.

“The definition of (binge eating) is saying you’re not going to eat cookies and then you eat more cookies after that,” said O’Reilly’s classmate Jada Wilson.

The group shared a survey of third- to fifth-grade students at the school that showed 39 percent didn’t know what obesity was, 52 percent did not think schools should cut flavored milks from their menus and 31 percent drink pop every day.

The presentation concluded with the audience pledging to eat healthier and eat less and the students beat boxing and dancing to a song about fitness.

“They get the idea of finding their own answers instead of spoon-feeding them answers,” Mike O’Reilly said with a proud smile. “They actually have to do research on their own and help obtain the answers needed to do their research, and they come up with some of their own conclusions.”

Julie Garrison, the school’s International Baccalaureate coordinator, said this type of exhibition is a requirement for the exiting grade of any IB-certified school.

“This is where they take a hot topic that is global that they have been learning about through the years and they do an independent study, they do research, they do interviews, they write a persuasive essay and they present to classmates,” she said.

The other presentations Tuesday included research findings about the importance of vaccinations, steroids in sports, bullying and oil spills.

Fifth-grader Marcus Higgins said unearthing new facts about a relevant topic affected him.

“Did you know that dolphins, fish, birds, turtles, crabs, sharks and even jellyfish are affected because of the big, nasty, stupid BP Oil spill?” he asked. “The British Petroleum Company should pay.”
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As published in the Jackson Citizen Patriot on June 8, 2011 

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About rjwalters

I am what you think I am — a journalist. Actually when I was hired at my current job, which by the way is Sports Editor of the Hillsdale Daily News in Hillsdale, Mich., I applied for a position titled "Wordsmith", so at my best I'll call myself a writer attempting to be a wordsmith extraordinaire.

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