Again, Newberry High is first in Eco Challenge
Published: Friday, February 28, 2014 at 5:22 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, February 28, 2014 at 5:22 p.m.
They've done it again.
Newberry High School scored a first-place win in the seventh annual Lexus Eco Challenge — the school's fifth in seven years.
"They've done well," team sponsor and chemistry teacher Cynthia Holland said.
The team of 10 juniors and seniors, called The Renewables, qualified for the final challenge after winning other challenges earlier in the school year. The Renewables are: seniors Kyla Dalton, John Deen, Jeremiah Eang, DJ Pabst, Dylan Purvis and Roshelle Twymon; and juniors Awdrey DeOliveria, Destiny Ingram, Casey McCormack and Jacob Reynolds.
For the final phase, the team had five weeks to plan and complete a project — something that takes an idea "to the next level," Holland said.
The team hosted a community-supported agriculture dinner and invited local farmers, city commissioners and the mayor for a presentation on the importance of supporting local produce.
"When you have people buying locally, you have less air pollution," Holland said. "You don't have the transportation costs, you don't have the transportation pollution."
The Renewables also designed and built a vertical-access wind turbine, which can be used to power electric golf carts at the school, wrote a comic book that addresses the problem of air pollution and designed lesson plans on air and climate for middle school classes.
Finally, Holland said, the team compiled carbon dioxide readings from several points in North Florida into a database and created informational videos about renewable energy sources.
The Renewables were one of eight high school teams chosen as winners from a pool of a few hundred. In all, the team racked up $25,000 for the school to use on science curriculum and other educational uses.
Team members Kyla Dalton and DJ Pabst said the team spent 10 to 15 hours a week working on the project, including on the weekends. The project lasted from November to January, which was sometimes hard to balance with the students' busy schedules, they said.
"It was very hard, especially with the sports going on in the wintertime," DJ said.
Most of the students also take demanding Advanced Placement classes, "But it's honestly worth it," Kyla said.
The group learned a lot about teamwork and time management, in addition to working on a project that could help better their community, the two seniors said.
As for the legacy of winning, it's a pretty strong motivator, Holland said.
Newberry High first snagged a first-place award in the Eco Challenge during the 2007-08 school year, then in 2008-09 and 2009-10, as well as last year.
Six of this year's team members were returners from last year, Kyla said, so they wanted to keep up the tradition.
The money for the school and the extra community service hours are nice, too, but there's one other reason the students say they wanted to win: This is Holland's last year sponsoring the Eco Challenge team at Newberry.
"It was important to not let Dr. Holland down," Kyla said.
Contact Erin Jester at 338-3166 or firstname.lastname@example.org.