Suburban students win top honors for radon awareness video

  • Six students from the suburbs earned top honors for their video about radon gas awareness in the yearly contest hosted by the Illinois Emergency Management Agency and the American Lung Association. Pictured, from top, clockwise: Maya Mitckess, 16, of Bolingbrook; Nicole Lee, 15, of Long Grove; Madelyn Di Iorio, 15, of Barrington; Madeline Chia, 15, of North Barrington; and Kennedy Kirkland, 15, of Buffalo Grove. Not pictured is Nicole Marceau, 15, of Palatine.

    Six students from the suburbs earned top honors for their video about radon gas awareness in the yearly contest hosted by the Illinois Emergency Management Agency and the American Lung Association. Pictured, from top, clockwise: Maya Mitckess, 16, of Bolingbrook; Nicole Lee, 15, of Long Grove; Madelyn Di Iorio, 15, of Barrington; Madeline Chia, 15, of North Barrington; and Kennedy Kirkland, 15, of Buffalo Grove. Not pictured is Nicole Marceau, 15, of Palatine. Courtesy of American Lung Association

 
 
Posted9/18/2020 6:00 AM

Six students from the Northwest and North suburbs earned top honors for their video about radon gas awareness, selected among more than 135 entries statewide by the Illinois Emergency Management Agency and the American Lung Association.

The students are Maya Mitckess, 16, of Bolingbrook, who attends Lake Forest Academy; Nicole Lee, 15, of Long Grove, who attends Stevenson High School; Madelyn Di Iorio, 15, of Barrington, who attends Barrington High School; Madeline Chia, 15, of North Barrington, who attends Choate Rosemary Hall in Connecticut; and Kennedy Kirkland, 15, of Buffalo Grove, who attends Cate School in California; and Nicole Marceau, 15, of Palatine, a student at Palatine High School.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The students found out about the dangers of radon gas while participating in a building project for an all-nontoxic house in partnership with the American Lung Association, Madelyn said. The students have known each other since they were little, participating in Girl Scouts and attending Quest Academy in Palatine, she said.

They plan to invest their $1,000 collective prize money in an awareness campaign with the American Lung Association launching in the fall, and gave the $300 school prize money to Barrington High School, centrally located among them, Madelyn said.

The prize money was provided by the American Lung Association.

Radon is a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas that comes from the radioactive decay of naturally occurring uranium in the soil. It can enter homes and buildings through small cracks in the foundation, sump pumps or soil in crawl spaces. About 1,200 people in Illinois, and 21,000 people in the United States, die each year from radon-related lung cancer, state officials said.

"This project helps raise awareness about a very serious issue," IEMA Director Alicia Tate-Nadeau said in a news release.

The students' winning video was shown in movie theaters throughout the state in partnership with National CineMedia -- America's Movie Network.

To view the winning entries, visit youtube.com/user/ALAUMEnvironment/videos. To learn more about radon, visit iema.illinois.gov/radon.

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