TSB Community Contributor
The Evans Middle School team claimed $15,000 in scholarships and grants as a first-place winner in the 2012-2013 Lexus Eco Challenge. The educational program and contest inspires and empowers young people to learn about the environment and take action to improve it.
The only Texas school among eight winners nationwide, the Evans “Green Our School” student team consisting of Crystal Chavira, Avery Hall, Sarah Kerr, Ethan Maliskas, Johnny Millar and Reed Waterman, advanced from a second-round winner to first place by expanding and enhancing the original project.
Their idea for Pavegen Energy Tiles that use kinetic energy from footfalls and is converted into free energy for their school has created lots of excitement. To make a more far-reaching impact, they created a smartphone app that calculates energy use as well as a Green Gadgets Store that boasts the latest and greatest in affordable gadgets that reduce energy use, and a trivia game application.
After winning the preliminary round of the Lexus Eco Challenge, the team broadened its scope outside the school to address issues of energy waste and renewable technology for the McKinney school district and the community. The goal of the team was to do something that would leave a social imprint on their community for years to come.
The team worked with the school board to pass policy requiring each of the 33 MISD campuses to develop specific energy use reduction goals via “Half-Watt Wednesdays” and “Watt Watcher” teams. Each school is also required to host discussions with custodial staff to reduce energy waste.
The Evans Green Our School-Energy Wattcher team created a website for the challenge with integrated curriculum in English and Spanish, with the same features that can be found on their app. For each of the Lexus Eco 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 the results.
Evans Middle School won $15,000, with $3,000 for the school toward the Pavegen Energy Tile Installation, $2,000 for the teacher advisor, Kimberly Church, and $10,000 in scholarships for the students. Evans is the only Texas school to place first.
”The Lexus Eco Challenge encourages teens to start local and then go global. All of the winning teams brought their ideas to a larger audience to make a positive impact in the world,” said Mark Templin, Lexus group vice president and general manager. “Through this program, nearly 30,000 participants have learned that their passion and commitment can make a difference in the world. It’s a lesson they can take with them the rest of their lives.”