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Students Take on Calcium Challenge

Entry submitted by Green Hedges students was one of 70 finalists.

Eminem may have never rapped about calcium, but that didn't stop the students at Green Hedges. They rewrote the lyrics of one of his hits and performed their masterpiece as part of a regional contest on adolescents and calcium.

"We did learn about calcium, that we do need it," said Holly Hicks of Oakton.

Their entry, a short movie on why adolescents need calcium, was one of 70 finalists for the Cabot Calcium Crisis Challenge. Thirteen eighth-graders from Green Hedges School in Vienna participated in the project, which was done on their own time after school and during lunch and recess.

Green Hedges' entry was one of more than 300 entries submitted from the Washington metro area for the contest, which was created by Cabot Creamery and several dairy associations.

"This is a great group of kids," said their homeroom teacher, Martha Chiles. Chiles suggested the idea to the students, even though the students couldn't use class time to work on the project.

Using a "Mission: Possible" theme, students made a short movie and presentation encouraging their peers to get more calcium. They took the presentation fellow student Katherine Lee made on calcium two years ago and re-worked it. They used the Internet to research about teens and calcium and found out that three out of four teens don't consume enough calcium and that bones grow the most during the teen years.

"If you don't have enough calcium, your bones and your teeth will be weak later," said Lee during the school presentation of their project.

Students said they enjoyed doing the project, even if the top honors went to Thomas Jefferson High School. If the opportunity happens next year, they said they'd do it again, this time adding a Web site or a poster.

"We know what we can do now," said Katherine Lee of Vienna.

And although they didn't win, students enjoyed working together.

"We all came together and did something fun," said Erin Miller of Chantilly. Hicks agreed.

"It wasn't boring," Hicks said.