The 2011-12 ninth grade Earth Science class at Rockingham Early College High School

NEED Awards for Energy Achievement

Pictured above: The award-winning 2011-12 ninth grade Earth Science class at Rockingham Early College High School

The Rockingham Early College High School was named North Carolina Senior School of the Year by the National Energy Education Development (NEED) Project. The Center for Energy Research and Technology assisted the class with its project. Ms. Kimberly Thompson-Hairston, Science Department chair, was the students' advisor.

The NEED Youth Awards Program for Energy Achievement is conducted in all 50 states to recognize students "who achieve excellence in energy education in their schools and communities."

CERT also worked with a team of students at T. Wingate Andrews High School in High Point. That team finished as a state finalist. Ms. Kathleen Melious was the team's advisor.

The Rockingham County class's summary of their project:

"The Rockingham Early College High School ninth grade Earth Science class focused on six goals around the theme of energy awareness. For each of these, we wanted to educate ourselves, our peers, our families, Rockingham Community College, and the community.

"We began by educating ourselves about the types of energy we use on our planet. We then studied ways we can conserve energy. We explored the concept of phantom loads. This was followed by the opportunity to calculate kilowatt usage and how individuals can save money by using less energy.

"We investigated ways in which our own school can save money in regard to reducing phantom loads and practicing better stewardship when it comes to energy waste. We have a unique school setting because we are located on a college campus. We conducted a campus audit analyzing lighting, doors, vending and drink machines, and computers. We made numerous recommendations to the college and vendors on ways to reduce energy use. We also became stewards by modeling energy conservation.

"Our activities extended into the community in order to share with others what we had learned. One of these activities was producing energy coloring books for a kindergarten class. We developed an energy conservation presentation which we presented to every student in our school. We had an assembly from the Alliance for Climate Education in which the entire college campus was invited to attend. Additional education initiatives focused on energy conservation presented through door hangers, school website postings, YouTube videos, an open house, and school emails."