Citizen Weekly: The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) president Kari K. Steele acknowledged 12 student winners who participated in her Imagine a Day Without Water 2022 video & essay contest.  The contest criteria required each student to create a 1-minute video, or 100-150 words essay that answers the question: “Imagine a Day Without Water” in your community and tell President Steele what they would do TODAY to conserve water and protect our natural resource (Lake Michigan), if they were in charge. 

As the only chemist serving on the Board of Commissioners, one of the many goals of the MWRD President is to expand outreach to all communities and youth to engage them in conversations and activities regarding the environment.   

Piquing or expanding interest in science and the importance of preserving our natural resources and protecting the quality of our water supply resource (Lake Michigan) is essential to maintaining the planet for future generations. Congratulations to the following students: 8th grade students Cassius Conley, Janiya Phillips, and Dania Rhodes of Providence-Englewood Elementary Charter School; Congratulations to Mikaila McCorkle, Kyleigh Jameson, and Schuyler Sayles of Ashburn Community Elementary Charter School. Congratulations to Christian Brown and Caprice Murry of John D. Shoop Math, Science, and Technology Academy and VaShawma Ross, Brandon Poole, De Kera Holt, and Kimora Willis of Paul Cuffe STEM Academy.   

“As President of the MWRD it is an honor to expand each student’s knowledge on the importance of our most valued resource…water. Each prize winner became an honorary Steele Water Warrior for demonstrating how they would reduce unnecessary water usage and maintain a clean and safe water environment,” said MWRD President Kari K. Steele.  The contest was inspired by “Imagine a Day Without Water,” a National Day of Action bringing together communities and policymakers to advance greater and more equitable water investments. 

In addition, recent water emergencies in Jackson, Mississippi and Dixmoor, IL provides youth a recent example of how close to home a water crisis could occur at any time. The water crisis in Jackson, Mississippi was essentially the result of flooding that overwhelmed Jackson’s largest water treatment plan and Dixmoor’s water system suffered multiple breaks that prompted residents to also be without clean water. 

Each contest winner received a Steele Swag Bag with informational literature about the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago, an offer to tour one of seven MWRD Water Reclamation Plants, passes to visit other water related attractions such as Navy Pier and Museum of Science and Industry. The Steele Swag Bag also includes an opportunity to enrich the student’s cultural experience with passes to the DuSable Black History Museum and Education Center along with other cool gifts for them to enjoy throughout the year. 

The Steele “Imagine a Day Without Water,” contest was a success. The participating students were creative, curious, and excited to explore ways to conserve water and protect the environment. Thank you to the school principals, teachers, and parents for their support. The student’s success in participating would not have been possible without their leadership and guidance. 

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