Students from Crossroads Elementary in the Wentzville School District won the 2018-2019 Green Schools Quest, coordinated by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) - Missouri Gateway Chapter. The competition challenges students in St. Louis area public and private schools to devise and implement, with the help of “Green Mentors,” the most creative, effective and no or low-cost sustainable practices for their schools.

Nearly 60 schools participated in this year’s Green Schools Quest, which begins in October and runs through March. The Green Team from Crossroads Elementary consisted of 30 students in sixth grade who worked with science teacher Kim Kessler and mentors Mike Merritt from Saint Louis Lighting Group, along with Kyle Christensen and Clark Kessler from LEDVANCE lighting company.  The students won in the Focus of the Year category (this year’s focus was Energy) for their project, “One Size Fits None: Energy Efficiency.” Over the course of five months, students: met regularly after school and conducted an energy audit; set up an experiment to test savings of fluorescent versus LED bulbs; surveyed teachers and students; analyzed the data; made public service announcements and posters to educate the students and teachers in their building; created a competition to decrease energy use; and presented their findings to Dr. Curtis Cain, Superintendent of the Wentzville School District, and members of his executive cabinet.

The students discovered that LED lighting was significantly less expensive and provided superior lighting that improved student focus, comfort and the ability to see the smartboard and whiteboard. Their recommendations to Dr. Cain included updating all buildings to LED bulbs, requesting that staff turn off lights and power down equipment at the end of the day, and utilizing energy efficient choices when constructing new buildings. “It has been exciting to see this group of kids dive into the GSQ adventure with such energy and enthusiasm,” said Mrs. Kessler. “The collaboration and creativity in their research, experiment, analysis, recommendations to the superintendents and plan to save energy was a significant amount of work; and they did it willingly. I’m pleased they gained the passion for sustainability for our world, which resulted in them being selected to receive the GSQ Focus of the Year Award.” 

The awards were announced at the annual Green School Event held at the Missouri History Museum last month, and a presentation was made to the students at their school on May 7. "Crossroads showed outstanding leadership on the individual students' part. What stood out to the judges was the drive and motivation to create a more energy efficient community,” said Devina Lee Sheng Tin, Apprentice Software Developer at Centene Corporation. “The students personally resonated with the project and it sounds like they will carry it on outside the classroom, which is really what the big picture is."

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