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Adair/Russell students in LWC energy project
earn national Award


Director Heather Pyles Spoon's Lindsey Wilson College Energy Technology Academy (ETCA) wins prestigious National Energy Education Development Project award in Frankfort, KY
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By Duane Bonifer, LWC Public Relations Director

FRANKFORT, KY - A group of students from Adair and Russell county high schools received national recognition Thursday for their work with solar energy.

Students of the Lindsey Wilson College Energy Technology Career Academy received the National High School Rookie of the Year award from the National Energy Education Development Project.



The students - who also received several state awards - received the national honor at the annual meeting of Kentucky NEED, which is an affiliate of the national program.

By winning the award, the students advance to the NEED National Youth Awards, which will be held June 25-28 in Washington, D.C.

"I'm overwhelmed. I never expected the students to be named National Rookie of the Year," said ETCA Director Heather Spoon. "I'm so proud of the kids."

The ETCA earned the national award for of their solar project at Adair and Russell county high schools. Led by Spoon, the students built solar panels for under $100 and also installed solar array panels on the roof of both high schools to conduct a solar-energy feasibility project. Spoon blogs about the projects, which received special acknowledgement from the NEED judges.

"We didn't work on the project to win an award, we did it to learn more about solar energy," Spoon said. "The project was a lot of work, but it was worth it to see the kids be excited about finishing a solar panel."

ETCA founded in 2008

Founded in 2008 by Lindsey Wilson, the ETCA enrolls students at Adair and Russell county high schools. Classes are taught by Spoon and other Lindsey Wilson faculty. The ETCA is funded through grants from Siemens Industry Inc., the Appalachian Regional Commission, Lindsey Wilson, and more than a dozen Adair and Russell county businesses.

NEED is a nonprofit education association. Created in 1980, NEED provides information to students and teachers about the scientific, economic and environmental implications of energy.

Russell County High School junior Travone Taylor said the award "is such a great achievement and tribute to Mrs. Spoon."

"She has really put her heart and soul into this," said Taylor, who has been in the program for two years. "It's great to see her dreams come true for us."

Taylor said being enrolled in the ETCA has been a life-changing experience for him.

"I have gotten a wealth of opportunities that I have put on my applications, and it's opened career paths that I never knew were possible," he said.

Being in ETCA like 'seeing into the future'

Adair County High School junior J.D. Coomer said being enrolled in ETCA has helped him see into the future.

"This is our future," said Coomer, who has been in the program for two years. "This is what's going to be happening in the next 20, 50 years. This will create jobs for everybody."

In addition to learning about energy, the ETCA has also taught Coomer lessons in leadership.

"I like the teamwork, and this made me realize what it takes to be a true leader in a group," he said.

Coomer said he hopes the success of the ETCA will cause more teachers to incorporate energy in their classes. But for now, he and his fellow students are looking forward to the NEED National Youth Awards.

"I'm looking forward going to Washington to present this -- hopefully we can change some minds about solar energy," he said.

Spoon said the ETCA students plan a fund-raising drive to help pay for their trip to the NEED National Youth Awards in Washington, DC. To learn about more about the fund-raising drive, contact Spoon at spoonh@lindsey.edu or (270) 378-1215. Heather Spoon's Solar Energy project is online at Energy Technology Career Academy


This story was posted on 2010-05-13 14:58:45
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Lindsey Wilson College ECTA students
from Russell, Adair COs. KY win high National Honor




2010-05-13 - Photo by Duane Bonifer. LWC photo. Frankfort, KY
Students of the Lindsey Wilson College Energy Technology Career Academy gather on Thursday at the Frankfort Civic Center after receiving the National High School Rookie of the Year award from the National Energy Education Development Project.

Joining the students are: (far left) ETCA Director Heather Spoon, left, Association of Independent Kentucky Colleges and Universities Director of Communications Mason Dyer and Russell County Schools Superintendent Scott Pierce; (far right) Adair County Schools Superintendent Darrell Treece, left, and Michael Azzara of Siemens Industry Inc.

The students pictured are (in alphabetical order):Jacob Burton of Adair County High School; Brittany Combs of Adair County High School; J.D. Coomer of Adair County High School; Jason Davis of Russell County High School; Brandon Joseph of Adair County High School; Macgyver Manning of Adair County High School; Jose Rodriguez of Russell County High School; Matthew Russell of Russell County High School; Jennifer Schwika of Adair County High School; Noah Scwika of Adair County High School; Cody Taylor of Adair County High School; Travone Taylor of Russell County High School; and Casey Webb of Adair County High School.

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