new energy | for and about students and emerging solar professionals
California high school Forms solar academy
La Mirada High School of Southeast Los Angeles County can now prepare students for careers in renewable energy. The school recently received a
first-of-its-kind three-year Green Academy grant from the
California Department of Education.
Solar Energy Academy coordinator and teacher Norma Williamson (standing) talks with academy students (left to right)
Amber Herrera and Ana Maria Castro; Mrs. Castro, a parent
volunteer; and Aleria Castro, an elementary school student.
The grant begins at
$42,000 for the first year, increasing each of the next two
years. The school has used it
to establish the Reach for the
Sun Solar Energy Academy.
The program is designed to
transition students to post-secondary education in renewable energy and to prepare them for careers in the
rapidly growing field.
For the past five years, students at La Mirada have celebrated Bike/Walk to School
Day and Earth Day and have worked with solar ovens and
other forms of renewable energy. With the new funding,
the modest solar education program will grow into a more
formal institution. Funds will provide more hands-on solar projects, more teachers and expanded subject matter.
During the 2011–2012 academic year, the school will offer
a solar energy class jointly with Golden West College for
both high school and college credit.
This fall, approximately 60 10th graders are completing
green energy projects at the solar academy. They will construct small solar demonstration houses, solar-powered
bikes and a life-sized boat that will compete against other
high schools. La Mirada has 19 industry and educational
partners, including Ed Begley Jr., Plug In America and
U.S. Rep. Linda Sánchez (D-Calif.). Working with these
partners, students will learn about renewable energy in
the professional world. To learn more about the program,
go to the “Smaller Learning Communities” and “Energy
Club” sections at lamiradahighschool.com.
—La Mirada StudentS ST