Comic books, pamphlets, songs, videos, Web pages, essays, poems and posters were among the projects that Lakeside High School students submitted for the national Igniting Creative Energy Challenge.
The effort was so good that it's sending their teacher to Hawaii.
Of the 33 students in Angel Kamara's math class who participated, 28 of their projects were entered into the challenge. Based on the submissions, Kamara was chosen as the grand-prize teacher winner and was to leave on an all-expenses paid trip to Hawaii yesterday.
The trip is provided by the administrators of the challenge. The contest is sponsored by Johnson Controls Inc., Royal Philips Electronics, the National Energy Foundation and the United States Energy Association and is open to pupils in kindergarten to 12th grade in the United States and Canada.
"I am beyond elation," said Kamara, the only teacher chosen to go to Hawaii. The top three scoring pupils in each grade category also were awarded a trip to Hawaii. "I know that my students are some of the best academic students in the country. However, I also know that I am biased. This recognition achieved through their work and efforts is just unbelievable."
Kamara, who learned last week that she won, is taking her 10-year-old son, Alexander, with her to Hawaii and will be there through Saturday.
She also will participate in the National Energy Efficiency Forum in Washington, D.C., in June where she will share her students' ideas with energy and government leaders.
"I am still floating on the clouds with pride for my students and their ability," Kamara said. "Without them, none of this would be possible. I really do not have the words to express my current level of joy in my students and the awesome privilege that I continue to have by teaching them."
Kamara was chosen as the grand-prize teacher winner based on the scores her students received in the challenge. The teacher with the highest average score of their top 15 student scores is awarded the grand prize.
"The National Energy Foundation will give my students a party when I return that will include food and a slide show of my activities while in Hawaii," Kamara said. "It is an extreme honor to be the teacher winner for both me and my students."
The Challenge called for students to determine wise energy choices and find creative ways to make a difference in the ways energy is used. Students had to use their creative talents to communicate their energy ideas and actions to others.
"Part of our instructional focus revolves around making content relevant to the students," Lakeside High Principal Jeff Carney said. "By participating in this activity, the students can utilize the curriculum covered in class and apply it to solve real-world problems.
"Creativity can be hard to assess. But this type of national competition shows that our students are very prepared to be creative problem solvers. Without a doubt, we are proud of our kids for their performance."
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