2009-02-26 / Front Page

Area Man To Build Louisiana Schools

Monetary donations sought to take trip
By Chanin Rotz-Mountz STAFF WRITER

Josiah Newman Josiah Newman A Waterfall man is slated to travel to Louisiana early next month to help in the construction of two new high schools in areas devastated by Hurricane Katrina.

Twenty-one-year-old Josiah "Josey"Newman and a group of fellow College of Agricultural Science students from Penn State University will be headed to Louisiana between March 7 and 15, spending the majority of their spring break constructing two new agricultural facilities for high school students located in Inland and in New Orleans.

Newman told the "News" students will first travel to Inland High School and then move on to the school in New Orleans as a follow-up. "These are going to be new facilities for the area. The area was devastated by Katrina, and there is no way that the residents in these parts of Louisiana can fiscally undertake a task such as building a new school," said Newman.

"Louisiana has highly fertile lands, and it is our goal to get these kids into college that may have not gone before. With the facilities that include a green wall (which is similar to a green roof in that it filtrates sediment and other contaminants out of storm water) these students should have the interest sparked in agriculture that is shown in most of Pennsylvania, including the Pennsylvania State University itself," he added. " ... I would love to see a school in Fulton County construct something similar."

The project emphasis is similar to that of a Habitat for Humanity project, Newman said, in that the construction of the buildings is for the underprivileged. However, it is also different in that the schools are being constructed with a "green design."

The cost for each student to participate in the weeklong trip is $500, and Newman has managed to raise $300 through various contributors in the community such as Forbes Road FFA, Second Time Around in Waterfall, Kee-Ta-Quay Construction, Newman's Market, Knepper's Mill, Emmig's Service Station and Center United Methodist Church.

Newman remains optimistic he can raise the money required to cover his own portion of the trip and hopes to continue raising enough money that his fellow classmates can all travel for free. He noted this past weekend included a dance marathon at Penn State, which raises millions for the Four Diamonds Fund.

"From this project I intend to take away the knowledge that I made the world a better place for some people that I have never met ... there is almost a sense of doing God's work here," concluded Newman. "This country was founded on the principle that every child should have the right to an education, and I intend to fulfill that commitment through this project. I want to take away part of the culture, the experience, the smiles of the children's faces and, of course, the warm weather of Louisiana."

Newman, the son of Dick and Bonnie Newman, is a graduate of Forbes Road High School and the class of 2005 salutatorian. He is currently a senior at University Park, where he is majoring in agricultural and biological engineering (ABE) with emphasis on natural resources. ABE majors receive instruction in electronics, fluid dynamics, environmental engineering, civil engineering, industrial engineering, farm design, design of agricultural buildings, microbiological engineering and mass transfer.

Any area resident wishing to obtain more information regarding this project or wanting to make a monetary donation is asked to call Josiah "Josey" Newman at 814-327-3227.

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