More than 3,600 students from 131 classrooms in 27 middle and elementary schools around the state participated in the 2017 Power Pledge Challenge, an initiative aimed at helping youth better understand energy use. This year’s campaign covered the largest geographic area of the initiative to date with students competing for regional and statewide prizes. An eighth grade science class from Palmer Junior Middle School is this year’s statewide winner.
Utilities and organizations from Anchorage, Mat-Su Valley, Kenai Peninsula and Juneau hosted the challenge as part of Energy Awareness Month, recognized every year in October. In the Challenge, students completed a hands-on activity from the AK EnergySmart curriculum, learned how to calculate their energy usage and discovered ways to reduce their energy usage at home. Students then conducted an online home energy audit with their families and identified specific actions they would take to use energy more efficiently. Johanna Tennant’s sixth period science class at Palmer Junior Middle School is the 2017 statewide winner.
The class will be awarded a pizza party, energy related classroom materials worth $1,200 and a tour of the Eklutna Generation Station. Four regional winners each earned a pizza party and/or a tour of a local power plant. “This is a good experience for our eighth grade physical science students,” said Tennant, “It gets them thinking about their personal energy consumption and start connecting that to what their families are spending on electricity. It is also a great eye opener to energy cost differences across the state. Thanks to all involved for coming in, teaching students with an engaging lesson, and giving them the opportunity to win a cool field trip!”
The winning classes are:
- Anchorage Regional Winner: Mitra Shanhazarian’s 6th period class
- Mears Middle School
- Juneau Regional Winner: Kevin Hamrick’s 1st period class
- Floyd Dryden Middle School
- Kenai Peninsula Regional Winner: Joanna Greene’s 1st period class
- McNeil Canyon Elementary School
- Matanuska-Susitna Borough and Eagle River Regional Winner: Brad Kirr’s 3rd period class
- Gruening Middle School
- Statewide Winner: Johanna Tennant’s 6th period class
- Palmer Junior Middle School
The Power Pledge Challenge began in 2012, offering energy presentations to 700 students in the Anchorage area. The now statewide initiative is held through support of Alaska Energy Authority, Alaska Energy Light & Power, Alaska Housing Finance Corporation, Chugach Electric Association, ENSTAR Natural Gas Co., Homer Electric Association, Matanuska Electric Association, Municipal Light and Power, and Renewable Energy Alaska Project.
Photo courtesy of Tim Leach