CeCe Knight stands beneath a homemade showerhead attached to a PBC pipe and braces herself for the chilly water.
Her classmates, eighth-graders Kassie Fountain and Sarah Carlin, stand on the second story of Brookside Middle School and break into a smile as they begin pouring a jug of water down the piping, stopping momentarily for Knight to lather her hair into a sea of soapy bubbles.
“This water is so cold!” shrieks Knight as the liquid drenches her T-shirt and shorts.
About four years ago, Brookside Middle School teacher Susan Roberts started having her classes build showerheads as part of an ecology project for Earth Day. The purpose is to be able to shower in the case of a hurricane.
Students were asked to bring anything they could find around the house — except an actual showerhead — and a Swiftmud Splash Grant funded the piping. They brought in buckets with cracks, water jugs, two-liter bottles, colanders, funnels and even cheese graters. Teams were only allowed five gallons of water.
“It’s been very interesting,” Roberts said. “Some of them work really well, and some squirt in different areas. The kids have a really good time soaping up and washing their hair. The girls sometimes do better than the boys.”
Some of the students timed themselves to see how fast they could shower, and others tried to see how many kids could shower before the five gallons had been used.
“One group put a garbage bag underneath to see how much water they could save,” Roberts said. “I think 13 kids took a shower with that five gallons of water — It’s hard to turn off what you’ve been practicing for many years, but one day the kids will realize it’s costing money.”
Contact Loren Mayo at firstname.lastname@example.org.