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Science Club Receives 2017 NEED Award

2017 Science Club receives award.JPG

For the third year in a row, the National Energy Education Development (NEED) Project awarded the status of Virginia Elementary School of the Year to Our Lady of Good Counsel School.

Our Lady of Good Counsel Catholic School students continue to incorporate STREAM
(science, technology, religion, engineering, art, and mathematics) into their classes and after school activities. The Elementary Science Club led by Miss Samantha Forbes, is made up of 28 students in grades 3-5 that desired to put additional focus in the area of environmental and energy education. The club met twice a month during the school year and voted on officers at the beginning of the year. The 3 officers guided the students to develop goals for the year and decided activities to meet each goal. Some of the accomplishments they achieved this year include educating one another about energy sources, working on the ongoing recycling initiative through posters, table signs and announcements, and participating in the school STREAM night.

An example of one of the goals was to reach a 90% recycling rate for the students at the school. The science club students made announcements during the lunch periods, but they did not see results that met their goal. So they decided to make more posters for the lunch room and table signs as reminders of the goal for the students to recycle all possible items during the lunch periods. One of the goals of Miss Forbes, club advisor, is to provide leadership opportunities for these elementary school students.

The OLGC Family STREAM night was another example of student leadership. The students either designed a science carnival game with questions for participants to experience or they had a station teaching about science concepts with items to take home. It can be intimidating for a 9-year-old to teach parents and peers, but with an entire year of activities and practice they proved to be excellent leaders at the OLGC Family STREAM night.

The students had an opportunity to attend a Youth Energy Conference at the Hyatt Regency in
Crystal City with students from all across the United States. On Friday June 23, the students were split up to join students from Kentucky, West Virginia, California, Illinois, and more to form an Energy Task Force to design a city 60 years into the future. Each student had a role, e.g., city planner or energy manager, and worked together to stay within the given budget to decide how to provide energy to their city population while keeping in mind environmental impact. The students continued this project Saturday morning with presentations of their towns to their peers. Friday evening the students listened to a keynote speaker from The American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers Association encouraging the students to continue pursuing their excitement in the sciences and to remember that the energy industry could use people in all the STEM fields. The students even had a STEM challenge right at the banquet table, so even during dinner the learning did not cease. Sunday night of the NEED Youth Energy Conference the students had time to celebrate, going on a dinner cruise along the Potomac River on the Spirit of Washington, where they enjoyed a beautiful night on the town, a great dinner, and lots of dancing. The students enjoyed being able to continue to interact with students from many schools throughout the weekend.

Monday, June 26 Our Lady of Good Counsel accepted the plaque and certificates for each participating student during the Awards Ceremony and breakfast. The students that have been in the club for 3 years are looking forward to what they can accomplish as sixth grade students in the fall. The other students will continue to rise as leaders in the community as they spread awareness about environmental and energy education.

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