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Third Annual High School Greening Summit

Third Annual JSC High School Greening Leadership Summit A Success

November 13, 2010

On Saturday, November 13, 2010, Johnson State College its third High School Greening Summit. The event attracted the participation of eleven teams from a total of nine VT schools. Co-sponsor Senator Bernie Sanders sent a letter of support expressing his enthusiasm for the issues of educational and environmental leadership that the Summit promotes.

The participating students, many of whom were from the JSC Upward Bound Program, competed at the Summit to obtain funding for environmental projects at their respective high schools. The event is hosted annually by a number of JSC departments and personnel, including the Dean of Students, Admissions, Environmental and Health Sciences, Dibden Center for the Arts, Conference and Event Services, and Aramark.

The day kicked off in Stearns with a welcome from JSC President Barbara Murphy, who proceeded to engage the students in a discussion of why student leadership is an essential component of efforts to save the planet. Her stimulating remarks were followed by a presentation by the JSC Student Eco-Rep Team, which detailed their projects to green up the JSC campus. Further inspiration was then added by Bernie Sanders’ Outreach Representative Kelly Lucci, herself a JSC Upward Bound alumnus, who expressed her office’s continuing commitment to the support of high school greening projects in general, and the JSC Summit in particular.

It was then time for the students to participate in a number of hands-on workshops that dramatized various environmental issues. Director of Dibden Jan Herder and his crew of Technical Theater and Performing Arts majors treated the high schoolers to a inside look at the new LED stage lighting, and Chemical Hygiene Officer Keith Kirchner reprised his informative workshop that explained current energy supply distribution and production, an individual’s carbon footprint, and renewable alternatives.

Also, Aramark Director Tadd Stone and Assistant Director James Consentino outlined local food issues to those students who opted for a tour of the cafeteria, and the Eco-Rep Team led the remaining students in decorating scrap boxes to create an eco-themed pyramid sculpture and tree mobile, both of which were on display outside of Stearns for the rest of the day.

After lunch, it was on to the student formal and creative presentations, based on written proposals submitted earlier. All teams impressed the judging panels, which were made up of JSC staff, faculty, and students. In addition, an expert from the Vermont Energy Investment Corporation gave each team extensive feedback on its proposal. When the day was done, the awards, made possible by the Vermont Community Foundation’s Green Mountain Fund and the Lance Family Foundation, were given out as follows:

First Place – Mount Mansfield Union, Jericho, VT – $750 + $100 (for best written proposal) + $100 (for best formal presentation) = $950 total. MMU wowed the judges with its proposals for their school to create an educational outdoor flower garden, to install a “nontraditional” mud grate to cut down on dirt and cleaning product use, and to build a greenhouse to provide local, healthy food and for educational purposes. The participants from Mt. Mansfield included Emily Mulvihill, Erica Fuller, Mercedes Sauve, and Elizabeth Morris with Team Mentor Gary Wills.

Second Place- Lamoille Union High School – Team B, Hyde Park, VT – $500 total. One of three strong LUHS teams, this particular group impressed the judges with its coherent plans to utilize any “liquid” assets they won to buy reusable, BPA-free water bottles for every student in the school, and to purchase water fountains featuring a unique counting mechanism to keep track of how many plastic bottles were saved by students refilling from the fountains. This team also detailed their plans to install a school-wide filtration system, as well as a number of state-of-the-art waterless urinals for the restrooms. The participants from this Lamoille team included: Ashley Jones, Ashley Deuso and Naomi Deuso with help from Mallory Jones.

Third Place- BFA – St. Albans, VT – $250 + $100 (for best Creative Presentation) = $350 total. The well-prepared team from this school listed a number of energy- and resource-saving ideas, including redoing the caulking on failing windows to save energy by reducing heating needs, funding a feasibility study on school-wide heating efficiency and related sustainability issues, and replacing paper towels with hot-air hand dryers and installing low-flow toilets in the school’s bathrooms. The participants from BFA included: Dylan Baranik, Katrina Bascom, and Nicole Messick. The students were mentored by Molly Godin and Amy Turner.

Upward Bound Director Tony Blueter and Summit Coordinator Russ Weis were so impressed with the work of all teams this year that they decided to award the remaining high school teams, BFA-Fairfax, Enosburg Falls, Missisquoi Valley Union, Peoples Academy, Lake Region, Lamoille Union/Green Mountain Tech, and North Country Union, $100 each to recognize their great work and spur them on to future green leadership. So no team walked away without some level of recognition for their fine efforts!

The following additional student teams and participants were exciting to watch and brought a wealth of greening knowledge to the competition:

Green Mountain Technical Center at Lamoille Union High School: Kaitlin Tilton, Owen Courchaine,and Hailey Goeltz, with team mentor Jeremy Rector

BFA Fairfax High School: Stuart Delaney and Emily Blackburn, with team mentor John Tague

Missisquoi Valley Union High School: Stanley Blow, Michaela Stilianessis, and Molly Hartman, with team mentors Jim Daly and Cheryl Poulin

Peoples Academy: Shelby Mandigo, Morgan VanCor, Emily Martin, and AmySue Gravel

Lyndon State Upward Bound: Kayla Royer, Mitchell Pion, James Triebe, and Kaytlyn Oliver, with mentors Rose Reynolds and Rick Williams

Lamoille Union High School – Team A: Marilyn Tagliavia, Liz Churchill, Lauren Schramm, Alyssa Slaimen, and Chelsea Green, with team mentor Laurie Toof

North Country Union High School: Rhiannon Rosamilia, Kyle Therrien, Stephan Fontaine, Colton White, and Mikayla Morse, with mentors Fern Fontaine and Renee Berthiaume

Enosburg Falls High School: Emily Watcke, Tonia Houghton, Cassandra Lafontaine, Heather White, Nicole Thompson, and Kristen Hale, with mentors Greg Tefft and Lan Nguyen