(Manassas, Va.) Students at Hilsman Middle School spent most of their 2019-2020 school year engaged, learning and teaching about science and the environment as part of teacher Audrey Hughes’ classroom and extracurricular programs. Throughout the year students completed energy and environmental projects to recycle, practice conservation, teach others about energy, and consider a variety of pathways for energy and environmental careers.
The capstone to their experience was to submit a project to the NEED Project Youth Awards for Energy Achievement with hopes of attending the 40th Annual NEED Youth Energy Conference and Awards in June 2020. Although the trip to Washington, DC is postponed until June 2021, NEED is hosting a virtual ceremony on June 29, 2020 for award winning students, teachers, and families.
The energy projects are planned and are implemented by students for students to educate their peers and communities about energy: the science, the sources, the uses, and the issues. The work of these students and teachers is of particular importance in a time of many energy challenges and opportunities.
Their project was reviewed by The NEED Project’s National Review Panel and selected for top awards as the Georgia School of the Year and the National Junior Level School of the Year from among entries from 17 states. A summary of the award winning project is shown below:
On August 27 of 2019 Hilsman students moved into a brand-new energy efficient school building! The team learned energy basics throughout the year using NEED resources, taking field trips, consulting with experts, and hosting guest speakers. Efforts to educate others began with HilFest in August, the Athens Water Festival in September, Energy Awareness Month in October, and America Recycles Day events in November. Hilsman students transitioned to distance learning in mid-March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Energy Education Month started in person and went digital. The team continued to educate by sending energy lessons to students and teachers designed by team members and experts all spring long. Throughout the year the team promoted energy education, conserving resources, and the Trash Hunger Campaign. More people learned that Energy is Essential: Everyday and in Emergencies!
About The NEED Project: The NEED Project is a nonprofit organization with programs in all 50 states, the U.S. territories and several other nations. NEED has developed innovative materials and implemented programs that not only teach about energy, but also develop leadership and critical thinking skills. NEED’s Kids Teaching Kids philosophy encourages students to take responsibility for their own learning and that of others. NEED is sponsored by both renewable and nonrenewable energy companies, federal, state and local agencies, energy consumers and by national and state energy and education associations.
The team sponsors were: Ani Fischer and Audrey Hughes. The students recognized were:
To learn more about the program and view projects visit: https://www.need.org/need-students/youth-awards/