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NCHS wins ‘Champions’ grant

Posted: December 2, 2010 9:40 p.m.
Updated: December 3, 2010 5:00 a.m.

North Central High School (NCHS) students are setting out to create a more sustainable environment -- and it looks like the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) has taken notice.

Monday morning, NCHS Principal Worth Thomasson announced the school will receive a $3,000 Champions of the Environment grant -- the largest grant awarded to more than 60 South Carolina schools this year.

“Out of 60-something competitive grants, our grant was rated first,” Thomasson said. “They gave us an extra $1,000 for this accomplishment.”

Since 1993, Champions of the Environment has annually awarded grants to South Carolina students and teachers who “do their part for the environment.” In addition to receiving $3,000, NCHS will also be given the opportunity to shoot a 30-second television commercial about its project, which will also be highlighted on the Champion’s website.

Thomasson said NCHS’s winning project, “Long Live the Knights: Lessons of Sustainability,” was designed to teach students how sustainability can be a reality for everyone.

“Basically, this project is about conserving resources and recycling,” Thomasson said. “It’s actually kind of two-fold: we’re teaching students how to be responsible adults and take care of the environment, and we’re introducing them to up-and-coming technology.”

The school hopes to use the project to teach students how they can create a more sustainable environment and decrease the school’s carbon footprint, the amount of waste it produces and the amount of water runoff from the school.

Thomasson said the four-part project is a joint effort between school administrators, and the agriculture and science departments.

The science department and students will use their classes to design and build a small photovoltaic solar system to augment the energy usage of a greenhouse, while the agriculture department and students will manage the building of a garden and water sequestering system.

The Ecology Club, along with the school’s horticulture classes, will be responsible for rotating compost bins and dispersing compost in the greenhouse and garden, and the administration will be tasked with the purchasing and budget of the project.

And with the project’s estimated costs ranging anywhere from $3,500 to $4,000, Thomasson said the $3,000 grant will certainly help the school achieve its goals.

“Eventually, we hope to have our local students incorporate what they’ve done and grown here and take it to the farmers market,” Thomasson added. “But more importantly, this will be an educational tool -- something they can get excited about and go home and tell Mom and Dad about the new things they’ve done in school that day. A lot of our kids hear about recycling and sustainability, but now they’re actually going to have the chance to do it.”

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