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JSC Hosts 4th Annual High School Greening Leadership Summit

Fourth JSC High School Greening Leadership Summit

November 12, 2011

On Saturday, November 12, 2011, Johnson State College (JSC) hosted another successful Greening Summit for the fourth time in two-and-a-half years. The event saw the participation of nine teams from a total of seven Vermont high schools, with students competing to secure grant funds to implement environmental projects at their schools.

The Summit is co-sponsored by Senator Bernie Sanders, and although he could not attend this time around, he did express his enduring enthusiasm for the issues of educational and environmental leadership that the competition promotes. In addition, the event is supported by a number of JSC personnel and departments, including the Dean of Students, Environmental and Health Sciences, Conference and Event Services, and Aramark Dining Services.

Many of the participating students were from Upward Bound (“UB”) Programs from around our region, which support serious students from modest income backgrounds who are striving to be the first in their families to attend college. Summit co-founder and JSC UB Director Tony Blueter has always made a point to reach out to other UB Programs, and this year the Lyndon State, Castleton State, and Plattsburgh State programs all sent teams.

This high level of Upward Bound participation is consonant with a renewed focus on a so-called “STEM” approach, which emphasizes providing students with the “Science,” “Technology,” “Engineering,” and “Mathematics” skills they will need to compete in our highly-technical world. All of the UB Vermont-based programs even provided summer programming to support their students’ participation in the Greening Summit, by offering classes designed to introduce the concept of “green roofs,” which was the focus of this year’s proposal-writing process.

The Summit kicked off in the newly-renovated Bentley Science Center, with a welcome from JSC President Barbara Murphy, who commended students for participating in such an event on top of all their other work, and encouraged them to continue to take on greater and greater challenges as they proceeded through their academic careers. Further inspiration was then added by Bernie Sanders’ Outreach Representative Kelly Lucci, herself a JSC Upward Bound alumna, who expressed the Senator’s continuing commitment to the Summit’s ideals, as well as to the participating students.

Next, keynote speaker Jeff Hodgson, a partner in Burlington-based landscape architecture firm H. Keith Wagner, presented a look at a number of area projects he designed and implemented. Students appreciated getting a look at real-world installations, such as the green roof on UVM’s Davis Student Center, the one at Heritage Aviation Center at Burlington Airport, and the 10,000 sq. ft. expanse on top of Salem (MA) State’s dining hall.

After the enlightening keynote presentation, it was on to lunch, and then to the student formal and creative presentations. All teams impressed the judging panels, which were made up of JSC staff, faculty, and students, as well as Jeff Hodgson himself. During the formal sessions, students successfully used PowerPoint and Prezi formats, as well as poster displays, to outline the key points of their written proposals. And one of many highlights of the creative competition was when students from Lamoille Union High School donned colorful costumes and, in order to dramatize their written proposal, delivered an entertaining rap song about compost.

In addition to the main competition, the teams once again received extensive individualized feedback on their written proposals from an expert from the Vermont Energy Investment Corporation, Frances Huessy. A new activity was also added this year, called “Who Wants to Save the Earth, Oceans, and Air?” Modeled after “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?” this fun bonus contest enabled students to win even more funding for their school eco-projects by correctly answering general questions about the environment.

When the day was done, Summit Director Russ Weis reiterated that all participants were winners for stepping up to the leadership challenge. In accordance, no team walked away without some level of recognition, with awards, made possible by the Vermont Community Foundation’s Green Mountain Fund and the Lance Family Foundation, given out as follows:

First Place – Lamoille Union High School Team #2, Hyde Park, VT –

$750 (1st Place) + $100 (Best Creative Presentation) = $850 total.
Team Mentor: Jeremy Rector, Science Teacher
Team Members: Sonia Bulignon-Gluck, Hanna Gates, Chelsea Greene, Lucy Rogers, Clare Salerno, Julia Stanton

Second Place- Lyndon State College Upward Bound/Lake Region Union High School, Orleans, VT – $500 (2nd Place) + $100 (Bonus Activity winner) = $600 total.
Team Mentor: Rose Reynolds, Upward Bound Assistant Director
Team Members: Kyle George, Kaytlyn Oliver, Chelsea Pillsbury, Mitchel Pion, Karla Royer

Third Place- Stowe High School – (3rd Place) = $250 total.
Team Mentor: Heather Hoffman, Environmental Club Faculty Advisor
Team Members: Kim Haab, Sam Haab, Colleen McGovern, Maggie McGovern, Meghan Schwab, Emma Stein

The following teams won $200 each:

Mount Mansfield Union High School, Jericho, VT

(Formal Presentation winner + Participation Award)
Team Mentor: Gary Wills, MMU Special Educator and JSC UB Master Teacher
Team Members: Erica Fuller, Connor Keefer, Jennifer Many, Emily Mulvihill, Mercedes Sauve, Brittany Spence

Castleton State College Upward Bound Team #1, Castleton, VT

(Written Proposal winner + Participation Award)
Team Mentor: Ann Honan, CSC Lab Instructor and Chemical Hygiene Officer
Team Members: Shania Brown, Trish Bush, Alex Carabello, Chelsea Crossman

The following teams won $100 each:

Castleton State College Upward Bound Team #2, Castleton, VT

(Participation Award)
Team Mentor: Ann Honan, CSC Lab Instructor and Chemical Hygiene Officer
Team Members: Sam Drake, Deborah Elkey, Paige Farley, Jake Webster

Enosburg Falls High School, Enosburg Falls, VT

(Participation Award)
Team Mentor: Greg Tefft, Science Teacher and JSC UB Master Teacher
Team Members: Brianna Houghton, Tonia Houghton, Brooke Parent, Nicole Thompson, Emily Watcke, Dylan Wescom, Heather White

Lamoille Union High School Team #1, Hyde Park, VT

(Participation Award)
Team Mentor: Amber March, Science Teacher
Team Members: Naomi Deuso, Claire Osgood, Lauren Schramm

Plattsburgh State University Upward Bound, Saranac High School, Saranac, NY

(Participation Award)
Team Mentor: Joan Seidel
Team Members: Elaine Duquette, Devin Larson, Jade Lakers, Ashley LeVasseur, Matt Moore, Kaitlyn Smith