Growing student leaders to save the planet
- Prize Category: Environmental Action
- Format: Panel discussion
- Country: Canada
- Languages: Streamed live in English with automated captions in Arabic, English, French, Filipino, Hindi, Japanese, Malay, Portuguese, Serbian, and Spanish.
- Learn more about the Top Ten Shortlisted Schools in the Environmental Action category on the World’s Best School Prizes website.
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About the school
Ecole Secondaire Lacombe Composite High School, a secondary school in Lacombe, Canada threw down the gauntlet to its students, challenging them to become leaders on environmental issues, and their award-winning projects have gone from strength to strength.
When in 2006 a teacher remarked to a student that “words without actions were meaningless” it proved the spark of inspiration that would change the school forever. A year later, the student came back with an offer of starting a project that would take the school off the electricity grid. She put together a vision statement, a plan and gained the support of fellow students and the school’s environmental club, EcoVision, was born.
The club’s long-term projects have seen it collaborate with the local community, universities and NGOs on initiatives to protect the environment. Over the course of four years it developed a 6kW solar array. When a fire broke out on the school roof in 2010 and destroyed the solar project, the sight of students crying underscored the importance of the club’s work and it rose from the ashes to produce new initiatives such as a near net-zero 850 ft tall geodesic tropical greenhouse. In 2012, the club helped create a 2-acre garden that eventually produced two hundred fruit trees, fifty vegetable beds and several patches that grew potatoes, garlic and squash. A few years later, the school started a beekeeping programme with eight hives.
Join us for a panel discussion on growing student leaders.
Moderator: Steven Schultz
Steven Schultz, a teacher from Ecole Secondaire Lacombe Composite High School, was recognized with the Prime Minister’s award for excellence in Teaching in 2019 for his out of the classroom educational opportunities. In 2006, Steve started an environmental club called EcoVision, whose goal is to build ecological student leaders through projects that enhance education, help the environment and encourage community collaboration. EcoVision has won numerous awards such as the Emerald, Ron Shulack, Greenest School in Canada, Watershed and A+ for Energy Awards. More information about the projects and awards can be located at www.lchsecovision.weebly.com
Speaker 1: Taylor Perez
Taylor Perez is an Ecole Secondaire Lacombe Composite High School Graduate, who was an EcoVision leader. Taylor was involved in the development of our Educational Pollinator Indigenous Carbon Capture(EPICC) garden, runs the micro-business and was a student in our innovative beekeeping program. Her projects helped EcoVision receive the Emerald Award in the Education Category for EcoVision’s environmental actions. Taylor also mentors, speaks at conferences and provides tours of the projects to schools and community members.
Speaker 2: Benjamin Podolas
Benjamin Podolas is a Ecole Secondaire Lacombe Composite High School Grade 11 student and EcoVision leader. Benjamin was involved in the development of our Educational Pollinator Indigenous Carbon Capture(EPICC) garden last year. They help run the micro-business and are enrolled in our innovative beekeeping program. Their projects helped EcoVision receive the Emerald Award in the Education Category for EcoVision’s environmental actions. Benjamin also mentors, speaks at conferences and provides tours of the projects to schools and community members.
Speaker 3: Charles Nokes
Charles Nokes, who grew up in Lacombe, Alberta, Canada, was one of the founders of the EcoVision environmental club at ESLCHS. Charles was the project lead for the 6kW photovoltaic array project at the school. Charles completed a Bachelor’s degree in Engineering Physics and a Masters in Physics at the University of Alberta, where he implemented an environmental project introducing phantom energy saving bars and clothes drying racks in the university dorms, reducing greenhouse gases and saving students and the university money. While at university, Charles led the AlbertaSat student team’s first satellite mission, Ex-Alta 1. After graduating, Charles co-founded a startup that helped farmers manage their crops using satellite data. In order to further reduce his carbon footprint and for personal health reasons, Charles switched to a whole-food plant-based diet in 2019.