A team of six students from Evans Middle School is one of 16 teams from across the country to earn $10,000 in scholarships and grants in the Lexus Eco Challenge, an educational program and contest that inspires and empowers young people to learn about the environment and take action to improve it. These students are 8th graders Crystal Chavira, Avery Hall, Sara Kerr, Ethan Maliskas, Johnny Millar and Reed Waterman.
The Evans Middle School team is now qualified to participate in the Final Challenge for a chance at one of two $30,000 grand prizes. This is a great accolade to add to Evans' award-winning efforts in greening their school, including being named last year, the "Most Energy-Saving School In America" byDoSomething.org.
The winning entry for the school was part of the Air/Climate Challenge. The team's project included a Watt Watchers Program of students who would randomly walk through the school, looking for classrooms with the lights on, and nobody inside. They would place reminders on the doors, to remind teachers and staff members to help us conserve energy when not in their classrooms. The project also included "Half-Watt Wednesdays," where classrooms would use only half their lights during instructional time.
Student Reed Waterman, a member of the team says, "We've been doing this for quite some time now and I never noticed the lights that were left on, or wasting energy. But now, if I'm walking down the hall, I can't help but notice, and even in my own home, I walk through and turn off lights in the rooms that aren't being used."
Kimberly Church, teacher at Evans Middle School and sponsor of the project speaks about the impact of the project.
"Once teachers realized that just 1 minute of wasted energy, every day, times the amount of teachers in our district and the amount of days we teach in a school year is enough energy to power a school for an entire year, you begin to see how it all adds up," Church said. "The teachers and students are really excited about it, and we're seeing our energy use dropping every month.
"We're excited to take our program to the community, and the world through our Watt Watchers app for the iphone and android. It will be released within a week, and contains more educational information about how people can use affordable technology to have a more sustainable and carbon neutral home and will be available on our Facebook Community/Cause Page. "
For each of the challenges, teams are required to define an environmental issue that is important to them, develop an action plan to address the issue, implement the plan, and report on the results.
"The Lexus Eco Challenge gives teens the opportunity to change the world, starting with their community," said Mark Templin, Lexus group vice president and general manager. "With the Final Challenge of this competition we want to see how they can use their skills and grand ideas to improve the environment in the world at large. We look forward to seeing what they can accomplish."
The Final Challenge will take place January - February 2013 with winners announced in March 2013.