Four Lakeside High School freshmen were awarded top state honors Thursday in the Igniting Creative Energy Challenge.
Officials for Johnson Controls and the ICE Challenge surprised Pramodh Ganapathy, Leah Denham, and siblings Michael and Meghan Ruddy with the news during a party to honor their gifted geometry teacher Angel Kamara.
Kamara was being honored as the grand-prize winning teacher in the program and had recently returned from attending an ICE Challenge conference in Hawaii.
The competition challenges American and Canadian pupils in kindergarten through 12th grade to promote conservation efforts and education. The challenge is sponsored by Johnson Controls, Royal Philips Electronics, the National Energy Foundation and the United States Energy Association.
Pupils in Kamara's class made essays, poems, songs, videos, Web pages and even comic books to get their conservation messages out.
Pramodh, Leah, Michael and Meghan developed a Web site, which included conservation quizzes, information about global warming, information about hybrid vehicles and tips on how families and businesses can conserve energy.
"Our main purpose was to get people to realize you don't have to do anything big to save energy," said Meghan. Some of their tips include using lower temperature settings to wash clothes; ending the use of foil to line oven racks, which blocks heat flow; and using energy-saving compact fluorescent light bulbs.
Amy Reilly, a Columbia branch manager for Johnson Controls, said judges discovered other teams using the Lakeside pupils' Web site as a source in their projects.
"You are our future and if we're going to live successfully in the future, we must be responsible," Reilly said.
Kamara said energy resources are a global concern and the challenge served as a practical learning experience.
"I consider our energy resources very valuable and something they need to think about now while they are young and creative," she said.
For winning in state competition, the pupils won personal MP3 players and Lakeside was awarded $1,000 for instructional uses.
The pupils' Web site can be seen at www.domesticonservation.kk5.org/
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